October 20, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Chris McCosky

Todd Bertuzzi: physical without fisticuffs

Todd Bertuzzi has been just what the Wings need, coach Mike Babcock said: a big body who plays physical. (David Guralnick/The Detroit News)

It seems a bit odd that in his 14 seasons, Todd Bertuzzi has been in just 22 fights. The number seems small for a player as big as he is (6-foot-3, 235 pounds), as imposing as he is and as hard and tough as he plays. Or, maybe it's because of his size and strength that the number is that low. Not many are jumping over the boards trying to challenge him.

"When it comes down to it, it's all on how the situation is," Bertuzzi said. "If someone is calling you out, you've got to do it. If not, you just play hard and see what happens."

Understand, Bertuzzi is still providing the Red Wings with a physical presence.

"We've been talking to Bert and Clears (Danny Cleary) about that," coach Mike Babcock said. "We feel them being physical on offense is very important and what I mean by physical is, when you have the puck, you can hang on to it in the offensive zone and take it to the net.

"Bert scored a great goal for us (Saturday) doing that and I hope he can build off that."

Bertuzzi's last fight was last March against Rostislav Klesla, it was one of two fights he had last season (the other was against Jordin Tootoo).

"I've never been known as a guy who comes in and fights 10 to 15 times a year," Bertuzzi said. "I will take care of myself and take care of the guys I am out there with if somebody is taking liberties with them. But I am not the kind of guy who is looking for it. If it's there, then it's there. It's part of the game."

He never has been known as a defensive forward, but he has made a conscious effort to be better at that end.

"That's the thing I would tell you about Bert; he's really tried to look after his defensive game since he's been here," Babcock said. "And once he gets more comfortable and won't have to think about that so much, I think he will be way better. ...

"I've been thrilled with how he's played. He looks after himself. We don't need him to (fight). We need him to be a big body and play physical."

Lilja gets treatment

Defenseman Andreas Lilja was in Toronto for a few days as he continues to work toward returning from a severe concussion he suffered last February.

"Just went over there to get some treatment -- acupuncture, straightening out my neck and my hips and my back, stuff like that," Lilja said. "It's supposed to help a little bit, get the blood flowing."

Lilja also will go with the team on its upcoming five-game trip, primarily so he can visit a doctor in Vancouver, Don Grant .

Getting changes in line

Babcock spent about 15 minutes working on line changes, not surprising after a bad change cost the Wings a tying goal Saturday.

"They had five scoring chances off line changes," Babcock said. "The goal was only one part of it. It was just a refresher. We've done it in the past and we will probably do it again."

With Pavel Datsyuk expected back, Babcock had Kris Draper centering Bertuzzi and Cleary at practice Monday. He put Datsyuk with Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom , and kept Valtteri Filppula with Ville Leino and Jason Williams .

Dana Wakiji contributed chris.mccosky@detnews.com">chris.mccosky@detnews.com (313) 222-1489

How the 2009-10 Wings were built

Justin Abdelkader 2nd Round, 42nd overall in 2005
Todd Bertuzzi Signed as a free agent Aug. 18, 2009
Danny Cleary Signed as a free agent Oct. 4, 2005
Pavel Datsyuk 6th round, 171st overall in 1998
Kris Draper Trade with Winnipeg June 30, 1993
Patrick Eaves Signed as a free agent Aug. 4, 2009
Jonathan Ericsson 9th round, 291st overall in 2002
Valtteri Filppula 3rd round, 95th overall in 2002
Johan Franzen 3rd round, 97th overall in 2004
Darren Helm 5th round, 132nd overall in 2005
Tomas Holmstrom 10th round, 257th overall in 1994
Jimmy Howard 2nd round, 64th overall in 2003
Niklas Kronwall 1st round, 29th overall in 2000
Brett Lebda Signed as a free agent July 21, 2004
Nicklas Lidstrom 3rd round, 53rd overall in 1989
Andreas Lilja Signed as a free agent Aug. 24, 2005
Ville Leino Signed as a free agent May 10, 2008
Kirk Maltby Trade with Edmonton March 20, 1996
Brad May Signed as a free agent Oct. 8, 2009
Derek Meech 7th round, 229th overall in 2002
Chris Osgood 3rd round, 54th overall in 1991 signed as a free agent Aug. 8, 2005
Brian Rafalski Signed as free agent July 1, 2007
Brad Stuart Trade with Los Angeles Feb. 26, 2008
Jason Williams Signed as a free agent Aug. 6, 2009
Henrik Zetterberg 7th round, 210th overall in 1999

Nicklas Lidstrom
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