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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Night Ducks News - Part 1, Bertuzzi!

So there was lots of news today.  An avalanche of interviews with Todd Bertuzzi, London coverage and a lot of other misc. news.  So this part covers all of the Bertuzzi interviews and coverage.

Ottawa Citizen has coverage on Todd

Todd Bertuzzi doesn't even try to hide the disgust on his face when asked by a reporter if his move this year to the Anaheim Ducks has forced him to re-live the Steve Moore incident.

It was more than three years ago that Bertuzzi sucker-punched the Colorado forward, resulting in a 20-game suspension, but it's still a hot topic.

"Anyone else? Anyone wanting anything about the game?" Bertuzzi said, looking away from the questioning reporter after his first practice in London in advance of this weekend's National Hockey League games at London's O2 arena.

Bertuzzi, who has shed 20 pounds in a bid to regain his edge after an injury-plagued season last year with the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings, was similarly dismissive when asked if he's lost anything from his elite years in Vancouver, when he played on a line with Markus Naslund.

"I'm the exact same player. If not I'll be better," said Bertuzzi, 32, who scored a career high 46 goals and 97 points in 2002-03.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Bertuzzi has not been a distraction, despite initial media attention after the bruising winger signed a two-year, $8 million US contract this summer.

"There's been some articles written about it, but that's part of the past. We can't change what happened, and we're about creating a more positive future," he told reporters.

Read the rest here - Link

ESPN has coverage of Bertuzzi

In the world of sport, redemption is strong currency.

Pro athletes are exalted as they ascend and just as quickly vilified and demonized when they fall.

Sometimes, if they're lucky, those fallen athletes get another chance, a chance to escape from under the rubble of their own misdeeds. And as the media and fans follow the ups and downs, it's the up-off-the-mat saga that always plays best.

And so it is that Todd Bertuzzi, perhaps the most demonized of NHL players of the modern era, sits contentedly in his dressing room stall here in London, surrounded by his new Anaheim Ducks teammates, looking somehow like a man who may well have walked away from his own rubble.

Todd Bertuzzi's stint in South Florida was not a happy one.

"There's naysayers about our team and there's naysayers about him and what he's got left in the tank," offered Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger. "It's a way for him to shove it where the sun don't shine and show people what he's still got left, the type of player he can still be.

"I know guys are excited to have him on the team. We heard nothing but great things about him when he played in Detroit last year. Reputations follow people around a long time, that's why people deserve second chances," Pronger added. "When you go through the situations that he's gone through, you grow up a lot and you get a different outlook on life.''

Bertuzzi is not quite jovial -- that's a little like suggesting a cactus can be cuddly; but certainly this Todd Bertuzzi is at ease. Why?

Read the rest here - Link

TSN has coverage and some video

The first thing that jumps out about Todd Bertuzzi as he zig-zags around the ice is that he's 20 pounds lighter and looks 10 years younger.

Bertuzzi, now 32, says he feels better than he has in a long time and is ready to do some damage this season with the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, who kick off the NHL season Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings at London's 02 Arena.

After last season was a writeoff due to back problems, Bertuzzi spent the summer trimming down.

''I think after you go through a year of having surgery and having back problems, I think maybe carrying the 245 and 250 (pounds) around maybe took its toll on it,'' Bertuzzi said. ''So I thought I'd try a new route and see if I can stay healthy.

''Knock on wood, it's actually been a blessing.''

Ducks GM Brian Burke says signing the winger to an US$8-million, two-year deal wasn't a gamble despite the back problems that limited Bertuzzi to 15 regular-season games last season with Florida and Detroit.

''I'm much more comfortable with Todd, because I had him as a player (in Vancouver) and I know his character,'' said Burke. ''Our doctors, when he passed his physical, said there is no health issue there that they're worried about. This is the lightest he's been - he hasn't played at this weight since he was 17.

''I know this player, I'm not worried about him fitting in, and I'm not worried about what he can do on the ice.''

Bertuzzi wants to repay Burke for believing in him.

''And with that comes the pressure to perform,'' said Bertuzzi. ''I think it's something that I need. There's nothing better than to have a little pressure on you to go out and perform. Obviously I'm fortunate that there was an opening on a Stanley Cup roster for me. So I've got to go there and make the best of it and play hard.''

He's landed in a comfortable spot. His old GM from his days with the Canucks is running the show and his best friend Brad May is in the dressing room.

Read the rest here - Link

Video - Together Again has coverage of Bertuzzi

The message is loud and clear here in Anaheim’s camp as the days tick away to Saturday’s opening to the 2007-08 season with the first of two games against the Kings in the NHL Premiere Series set to take place at the O2 Arena.

Ignore Todd Bertuzzi at your own risk is that message, emanating from every corner of the Ducks’ dressing room, from the coaches’ room and from the general manager’s suite. Most importantly, the message is coming from the player himself -- not so much from his words, but through his actions.

It is a warning issued from London, but one that should be heeded across the pond by the NHL’s 28 other teams, as well.

“All Todd Bertuzzi has done is come in here and worked his butt off: he hasn’t been anything but a true professional,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “He’s been everything that you would ask; he has been no distraction whatsoever. He’s trying to fit in. I think that the off-ice commitment he made during the summer is a statement for him.”

Bertuzzi approached the Ducks this summer and asked to join up. Coming off an injury-ravaged season that saw him play just 15 regular-season games, Bertuzzi was not in much a position to make demands. There were too many questions about Bertuzzi’s surgically repaired back and demeanor to term the market as a seller’s market.

Yet Anaheim GM Brian Burke was interested. Burke was GM of the Vancouver Canucks when Bertuzzi was at the apex as a player. In 2002-03, Bertuzzi had 46 goals and 97 points – both career highs – and Burke watched it all unfold. So, the match was natural as both player and manager would like to see tho

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Fox Sports has coverage of Bertuzzi

LONDON - LONDON -- There are a number of reasons why Todd Bertuzzi will be a total flop in Anaheim. A bust. A washout. A waste of $8 million over two years.

The Bertuzzi bashers, and they are legion, can rhyme them off with ease. Lets start with five easy ones: (1) his back problems; (2) he weighs too much, somewhere in the range of 245-250 pounds; (3) he's a new guy on a close-knit team: (4) in recent years, he has tended to play an east-west game whereas the Ducks play north-south; (5) he doesn't work hard enough.

And not that it really matters much, but those who dislike Bertuzzi toss in another one. He's not communicative with the media.

That one went out the door right away when the media hordes here to cover the season openers between the Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings approached him. He was relaxed and smiling.

And a lot thinner.

"I think it was just a matter of time," said Bertuzzi. "I think after you go through a year of having surgery and having back problems, I think maybe carrying the 245 and 250 around maybe took its toll on it. So I thought I'd try a new route and see if I can stay healthy. Knock on wood, it's actually been a blessing. I'm around 230, 228, give or take."

A reporter noted that he weighed about the same. "That's what you are?" asked Bertuzzi, as he looked at the pot belly. "I guess I hold it better."

He didn't say it with malice, he said it as a shared joke. This is not the Todd Bertuzzi that some members of the media have experienced in recent years.

But whatever the case, two of the five criticisms were answered in the opening salvo. The back problems appear to have gone the way of the extra weight.

Read the rest here - Link