The key date for Todd Bertuzzi now that he's apparently decided to remain with the Detroit Red Wings on a 2-year extension: Sept. 24.
The trial over former Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore's $38 million lawsuit against Bertuzzi, for that career-ending attack in 2004, would have started on Oct. 12 if Bertuzzi didn't have an NHL contract after this season; now, it begins on Sept. 24, as the legal wrangling continues over who will be liable if Moore wins the case.
Can you think of another franchise in the National Hockey League that would offer more support, comfort and insulation for a player in Bertuzzi's spot than the Red Wings? No one will whisper a word about distractions or disappointment or personal opinions on the incident.
We don't want to say Detroit runs a tight ship, but it would have plowed through that iceberg in the Atlantic back in 1912 without a leak.
All of that aside: Bertuzzi's been one of the best reclamation projects in recent memory.
He plays within his abilities at 37 years old, potting around 18 goals and posting around 44 points per season. He's a plus-21 this season, playing 15:46 per night and a bit on the power play. Just an effective role player.
Helene St. James of the Freep has his deal, which hasn't been formally announced, at $2.2 million per season, and Nick Kypreos has it in the "ballpark of $2 million."
I get that people are excited for this signing, but I'm not that big of a fan. I don't like a $2.2M per season deal for a guy who last year scored 2 goals in his final 21 games and scored 3 in his final 30 the year before. I also don't like a 2-year deal for a guy who has had a questionable injury past. There's also the uncertainty of the CBA and what the terms of that are going to be. Overall, I would have preferred to see the Wings see what Bert brings the rest of the season before deciding to award him with a multi-year deal, because I think there are younger guys ready to step up and take his place on the team.
Age and injuries are legit concerns. But the price is OK and Bertuzzi fits well in Detroit — whether it's as a big body or the occasional master of the shootout spin-o-rama. He's a good soldier that does what he's told.