Wings notes: Bertuzzi attempting to turn around injury-riddled, frustrating season

Detroit News

Montreal — It sort of typifies Tyler Bertuzzi’s season, somewhat, that it sure looked for a couple of days as if Bertuzzi was going to return to the Red Wings’ lineup Thursday, but after the morning skate, there suddenly was some question.

The lower-body injury Bertuzzi has maybe wasn’t quite 100% just yet.

“We’ll see,” Bertuzzi said after the morning skate. “Hopefully, though.”

Bertuzzi had only appeared in 15 of the Wings’ 46 games, after suffering injuries to both hands, then apparently tweaking his groin last week against Vegas, which forced him out of the lineup for the last two games.

Bertuzzi has a goal and four assists in those 15 games, five points, with a minus-five plus-minus rating.

All this, while heading into a summer where he’s an unrestricted free agent.

“No, definitely not,” Bertuzzi said, of how this is how envisioned this season going. “No.”

Progress on a new contract has been slow, if any progress at all. There’s a real chance general manager Steve Yzerman could deal Bertuzzi, 27, before the March 3 trade deadline rather than lose Bertuzzi for nothing this summer.

“I haven’t talked to him in a while, honestly,” Bertuzzi said of his agent, Todd Reynolds, regarding any sort of update.

Bertuzzi insists he isn’t frustrated by the contract situation.

“The only frustrating thing is being hurt all the time,” said Bertuzzi, who is aware of the trade possibility. “That’s the business (possibly being traded). We’ll see after the break how everything plays out.”

Bertuzzi’s inability to stay in the lineup has contributed to his slow start offensively.

“(The game is) just faster, so now he comes in and wants to play and he has a bit of a skill game and wants to possess the puck and he has a good stick, but he leads in turnovers in all three zones,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “That’s the pace (of the game). (When) he gets into a rhythm, those (turnovers) get limited. It’s been a tough go for him. I don’t think it’ll take him long to get to that 30-goal (level from last season).

“But, he has to get some reps and rhythm.”

Copp getting close

Andrew Copp hasn’t provided the offense the Wings maybe expected after signing a free-agent contract last summer, but Copp feels that still could happen.

Copp had off-season core surgery, missed training camp and the exhibition season, and only recently has begun to feel close to optimal.

“Me, personally, especially with the injury and how it started, I can feel it start to build,” Copp said. “I can feel myself getting a lot more confident in the play a little more, because I’m feeling better.”

Copp went into Thursday’s game with 26 points (five goals and 21 assists). The offense might be slow coming around, but Copp has been as good as advertised from a defensive standpoint and a key component on special teams.

The assists are trending toward a career-high — he had 32 last season, along with a career-high 21 goals — though getting dealt to the New York Rangers from Winnipeg helped the offensive numbers.

“He’s on a wing with maybe the most offensive skilled guy in the league in (Artemi) Panarin (in New York after the trade deadline) and that’s a lot different ask,” Lalonde said. “He’s been great. It looks like he’s getting his legs back. Those core surgeries are tough to come back from and it looks like he’s got more pop in him.”

Ice chips

Filip Zadina (lower-body injury) wasn’t scheduled to play Thursday and Lalonde said the Wings are leaning toward waiting until after the week-long All-Star break to bring Zadina back into the lineup. Zadina has been out since November after blocking a shot near the foot area.

“Probably leaning toward (after the break),” Lalonde said. “I wouldn’t say (Zadina had a) setback, but it’s a (lower-body injury) and when he skates hard he feels it, which is understandable. You have the luxury of the timing of our break to give him that time.”

… Some of the fathers along on this fathers/mentors trip finally arrived in Montreal Thursday morning after flights were postponed because of heavy snow both in Detroit and Montreal.

Jack Lalonde arrived early in the week, so he wasn’t impacted, but don’t expect dad to give head coach Derek Lalonde any constructive criticism or advice on how to run the Wings.

Jack’s calm nature, actually, left an impact with the Wings’ head coach.

“My dad barely says boo,” Lalonde said. “Even when I played different sports growing up, he never said boo, which is awesome. When (Lalonde’s kids) were going through minor hockey, there were the typical hockey parents, and a lot of yelling and screaming, and my one son was like, ‘You need to start yelling and screaming like the other dads’.

“I’m like, ‘No, trust me, down the road you’ll appreciate that’.”

Red Wings at Islanders

Faceoff: 7 p.m. Friday, UBS Arena, Elmont, N.Y.

TV/radio: BSD-Extra/97.1 FM

Outlook: The Islanders (23-22-5) are struggling, having lost three consecutive games, and going 1-6-3 over their last 10 games…The Wings won an earlier game between the teams in November … C Brock Nelson (18 goals, 25 assists), C Mathew Barzal (31 assists) and G Ilya Sorokin (15-16-4, 2.44 GAA. .922 SVS) headline a veteran roster.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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