Tuesday Tire Pump: Todd Bertuzzi

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Every Tuesday at PHT, we’ll pump a player’s tire. Because every player likes it when nice things are said about them.

This week’s tire pumpee: Todd Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings

With all that’s been said and written about the guy, it’s easy to forget he was once the premier power forward in the NHL. In 2002-03, Bertuzzi scored 46 times for the Canucks while playing on a line with Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison.

Of course, that was before he attacked Colorado’s Steve Moore from behind on Feb. 16, 2004, ending Moore’s career and ensuring the Bertuzzi name would go down in NHL infamy. (And also ensuring a fascinating civil trial.)

Just shy of 37 years old now, Bertuzzi’s no longer an all-star and he only averages about 15 minutes per game with the Red Wings. However, in his last 24 games, he’s managed to rack up eight goals and 12 assists.

True, skating with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen doesn’t hurt, but still — not a bad bargain for the Wings.

“Bert has been a real factor for us, playing with Pav and Mule,” coach Mike Babcock said recently. “Bert’s been very consistent here of late and playing real hard. And he’s big and he’s physical, and he’s physical with the puck, so he’s protecting the puck and guys are bouncing off him, and that makes him hard to play against.”

Bertuzzi has never won a Stanley Cup. The closest he came was in 2007 when the Red Wings were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in the conference finals.

Probably a lot of hockey fans would prefer his Cup drought never ends. Hard to deny he’s playing well though.

Todd Bertuzzi, everyone.