Signs point to Todd Bertuzzi staying in Detroit

Thumbnail image for bertuzzi.jpgThere’s no doubt that I delight in lampooning Todd Bertuzzi. Obviously, there’s our once-weekly Bertuzzday award (we’ll probably start that again next season, in some form): a token of shame given out because of the Steve Moore debacle. Even beyond that, Bertuzzi has been a goat in the eyes of many bloggers for pure hockey reasons, as he underwhelmed onlookers while bouncing from the Panthers to the Red Wings to the Ducks and Flames.

A strange thing happened on his way back to the Motor City, though. While no one would mistake him for the dominant force he was for a few impressive seasons with Markus Naslund in Vancouver, Bertuzzi started to resemble the player who once made an impact on the league. Watching him protect the puck and bring it into tough areas after years of witnessing him shy away from contact and earn the title of Largest Perimeter Player/Floater was, frankly, quite stunning.

Could it be that he was just trying to save his career? That’s not clear just yet, but it looks like the Detroit Red Wings want to bring Big Bert back. Here’s more from the Detroit Free Press.

The Wings have offered a two-year deal to unrestricted free-agent forward Todd Bertuzzi. They also have extended qualifying offers to all five of their restricted free agents: forwards Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm and defenseman Derek Meech. There have been some preliminary talks with the agents for Eaves and Miller. Eaves, Miller and Meech all have arbitration rights.

NOTEBOOK: Tomas Holmstrom officially signed his two-year deal Monday, putting the Wings at $52.245 million in salaries toward next season. The cap is expected to rise $2 million to $58.8 million, leaving roughly $6.5 million in cap space. Besides re-signing Bertuzzi and the five restricted agents, the Wings will use what is left toward a veteran defenseman — possibly Andreas Lilja — and seeing if there’s a gritty forward available via free agency.

(The story also details the fact that the team is very close to signing general manager Ken Holland and assistant general manager Jim Nill to contract extensions.)

While I cannot help but wonder if we’ll see the floating Bertuzzi return soon enough, the Red Wings are justified in thinking that they can contend with last year’s group (plus the helpful addition of one year cast-off Jiri Hudler). The only issue is that Bertuzzi and the Red Wings aren’t exactly spring chickens, either. Then again, I guess that’s another discussion for another day.

We’ll let you know once/if a deal is signed. From the sounds of things, though, it looks like Bertuzzi will remain in Detroit.

Kassian sent to hospital after being involved in car accident

Scott Darling, Zack Kassian

Montreal Canadiens winger Zack Kassian was involved in a car accident early Sunday morning.

According to the Montreal Gazette, Kassian was a passenger in the vehicle that crashed into a tree.

The SUV was being driven by a 20-year-old female at the time of the accident.

Montreal police confirmed that speed didn’t play a factor in the collision, but alcohol may have.

The Canadiens have since confirmed the incident took place and have also mentioned that Kassian was taken to hospital.

A club official described his injuries as being “minor”.

“(Kassian) was all bloodied up and stuff. He was in a daze,” said Steve Petrenko, a resident of the street on which the accident took place. “He had a hard time walking, and he almost took a fall.”

This story will be updated when more information is made available.

Habs and Fleischmann agree on one-year deal

Tomas Fleischmann,
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The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed Tomas Fleischmann to a one-year contract.

According to TVA Sports, the deal is worth $750,000.

The 31-year-old was invited to camp on a professional tryout, but his preseason performance showed that he could still contribute at the NHL level.

Fleischmann found instant chemistry with new linemates David Desharnais and Dale Weise, and it looks like the trio will open the regular season as Montreal’s third line.

The veteran winger started  last season with Florida, but was traded to Anaheim on Feb. 28. He had a hard time cracking the Duck’s lineup and was a healthy scratch in most of their playoff games last spring.

Fleischmann scored eight goals and 27 points in 66 games last season.