The Vancouver Canucks took it on the chin yesterday. And the feeling that I got reading the Canucks.com message boards, the fans are none too impressed with the gentleman wearing black number 4.
Todd Bertuzzi joined the Vancouver Canucks all most ten years ago to the day. He was a young, underachieving forward in the the New York Islanders system. Being aquired in a trade that saw Trevor Linden (Mr. Vancouver Canuck) go the other way meant that Bertuzzi and fellow Islander Bryan McCabe were going to have some rather large shoes to fill. McCabe was eventually delt to the Chicago Blackhawks for one of the draft picks which allowed then GM Brian Burke to land both Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Bertuzzi on the other hand slowly in a rather boisterous way became a fan favourite scoring highlight reel goals and playing with the reckless abandonment that this city seems to thrive off of. Todd Bertuzzi was all the fan favourites rolled into one 6'3" frame weighting in at 240 lbs. Pavel Bure's hands, Martin Gelinas' heart, Mogilny's speed, Steamer's (Stan Smyl) toughness. Todd Bertuzzi was king of this city. Until....
Until that fateful evening. March 8. 2004
Now there is no reason to rehash the details of that crazy night at GM Place. Todd Bertuzzi made a massive error in judgement and paid a price for it. Was it enough? Maybe not, but the NHL seems to have forgiven him. And still, fans of the Vancouver Canucks (that turned on Bertuzzi) seem to overlook all that Todd brought to the city.
Although the Canucks line-up yesterday afternoon consisted mostly of rookies, Todd Bertuzzi took the opportunity to show the Vancouver Canucks that he still has it. Does Todd Bertuzzi make that Canucks better than Roberto Luongo makes the Vancouver Canucks? Not a chance. But Todd Bertuzzi showed yesterday that he still has the ability to single handedly, change the face of a game.