Thursday, November 03, 2005


The Hurting Todd Bertuzzi

Barry MacDonald of has penned an "Aww, poor thing" story about Todd Bertuzzi.

He is, to be certain, one big, enigmatic mass of a man. He is Todd Bertuzzi, who also happens to be one of the most dominant hockey players on the planet when he chooses to be.
Sad, but true. It's cliché to say that an athlete can just simply score more if he wants to, but it really is the case for Todd Bertuzzi. There are times when he can take the game by the neck but he usually doesn't these days. With just 2 goals and 11 points in 13 games, Bertuzzi really hasn't re-established himself as the game's elite Power Forward that he once was.

It is not always easy to feel compassion for Bertuzzi. Even before "The Incident" he was a nasty piece of business for the inquiring minds. The majority of pro-hockey players understand the media's role, and view our inquisitions as a necessary evil.

Bertuzzi viewed us an unnecessary one, and that was on his good days. Trevor Linden can take a poorly framed question and provide a thoughtful answer, understanding that we are simply conduits from the players to the fans. Bertuzzi has chosen to ignore that link, opting instead, more often than not, to reveal little about himself or his craft.

One thing that doesn't help Bertuzzi is the image he has of a surly jerk and a very unfriendly guy to be around (and a cheap guy who doesn't like to foot the bill at the bars/restaurants for his teammates). Bertuzzi seems to have taken the "I don't care what they say route" and doesn't spend time fighting media fires. Todd doesn't want to play the villain that the media and many fans see in him.

Barry goes on to declare that the Steve Moore incident haunts Todd Bertuzzi.

He isn't have an easy time getting back to what he does best. I had suggested on numerous occasions the best thing for Bertuzzi would be to get back on the ice and rock someone with a clean hit at the very first opportunity.

But it just isn't that easy. You have to pick your spots to make that kind of check and those spots can be few and far between. More than anything however, you have to be mentally prepared to make such a physical statement, and as yet, I'm not convinced Bertuzzi is ready to do that. He has had moments, but until I see that sneer, that scowl and that arrogance that so defines him, I will maintain the Moore incident haunts him to some degree.

As if Bertuzzi wasn't an emotional enigma before the incident, now the big guy is afraid he'll get called for a penalty or chastised by the media for laying even a clean bodycheck on a guy. Apart from a very few flashes, Bertuzzi has been afraid to assert himself in any physical matter this season. It's frustrating to watch Bertuzzi loaf around the ice and coasting like Mark Messier was famous for after his first go-round with the Rangers.

I'm no sports psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, so I can't diagnose exactly what is wrong with Bertuzzi. I can just say that I believe he does feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and keeps everything bottled up. Bertuzzi is as closed to the media as you can get with a non-European NHL star. Kids and others who have met Bertuzzi have stated that he is a nice man, albeit quite shy and keeps to himself. Bertuzzi has admitted that he doesn't really like taking vacations and would rather just stay at home during the summer.

The attack on Moore seemed to be a release of emotions from a bunch of things that been building up for Bertuzzi (It was a very frustrating year for him in many respects up until that point).

It's important that Canuck fans keep this all in perspective. For Todd Bertuzzi, it's not as simple as just lacing them up anymore.

It's one thing to be packing around those expectations that go with being one of the best players in the game. It's another to be saddled with a load of emotional baggage.
This isn't to suggest that you feel sorry for Bertuzzi ... it is to suggest you understand the road back might just be a little rocky.
It should be easy for non-Avalanche fans to just let it go. Why would Oilers fans be booing Bertuzzi? They should be saving their energy and booing their inept management.

As for Bertuzzi, he is getting paid a lot of money for his services and he's not delivering good value. I have a right to be angry at the fact that Bertuzzi is not asserting himself and seemingly doing nothing to correct his mental problems. If he is so afraid of bodychecking or throwing his heft around, then he needs to spend some quality time with a psychiatrist and he needs to take the bull by the horns.

Until I see Bertuzzi develop a "screw you" attitude and just knock defenders down like bowling pins, I, and the other Canucks fans, reserve the right to criticize his lackluster play. Why should we have to wait for Bertuzzi to "play angry"? Todd should play hard every game and deliver a performance in line with the heavy salary he has saddled the Canucks with.

ummm there are no power forwards in nhl 2005. for every former power forward finding success for his non power forward skills (lindros, thornton, iginla) there is a true power forward stinking up the ice (holik, kt, guerin, roberts, etc)

todd may be sucking but "throwing his body around" and power forwarding will not fix the issues.

the true power forwards have to wait until the nhl re-developes actual puck battles, and were being strong on your skates gets you somewhere on the ice daniel corso can't get to.

and since when did his effort and leadership issues suddenly become a real problem? if he scored would all this old baggage be still packed away by the fans?
In today's NHL, being a Power Forward should be easier in some respects.


Todd and his big boys club can go to the net with full abandon and draw lots of holding penalties. Have you been seeing how many goalies are being run into b/c defenders aren't able/willing to hold/push the attackers away on rushes? Bertuzzi should take the puck and just drive like a tank to the net. Unfortunately, Todd is afraid that he'll get a penalty when the refs aren't calling penalties for players CARRYING the puck. There is a big big big difference.

Todd is paid to score and score often. His effort is an issue because he is paid and expected to be a force. I don't care about ra-ra leadership, but a lack of assertion doesn't help inspire his teammates.
Why do Oilers fans boo Bertuzzi? Because they want to win. When he's on the ice, it's quite possible that he's distracted by the booing, and it makes him a less effective player. It isn't personal, at least not for me. As for our "inept management", anyone that cheered for a Keenan-run team shouldn't be allowed to comment. ;)
pah,in the oldendays the power forwards (cam neely) were the ONLY players who could

a) go to the net


b) stand there

2005? corso, cajaneck, my midget neighbor, paul williams can walk to the frontof the net AND stand there. toddisnt elite in his net getting to skills anymore.

and if todd stands all the way to the net, its worse!! corso will fall over and get a 2 minute power play :)
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