Glendening injury opens door for Wings' Bertuzzi
Boston — The Red Wings are going to be able to get an extended look at prospect Tyler Bertuzzi.
But it’s at the expense of another gritty, defensive-minded forward.
The Red Wings found out Friday they’ll be without Luke Glendening for a minimum of a month, after the University of Michigan product injured his hand/wrist during Wednesday’s loss in Philadelphia.
The Red Wings recalled Bertuzzi, who’ll skate on a line with Darren Helm and Frans Nielsen — just as Glendening has done at times recently.
Getting Bertuzzi into the lineup and having him get quality NHL ice time is a positive — but don’t underestimate the loss of Glendening.
“He’s played so good that everybody I’ve talked to has said to me ‘that’s a big loss’,” Blashill said. “That’s great for Glennie and it shows how much of a good job he’s done.
“But this is sports and there will be injuries and you have to absorb them. Other guys have to step up, whether it be the penalty kill or 5-on-5 and certainly it gives a guy like Bert an opportunity.”
Glendening had seven goals and three assists (10 points) in 33 games with a minus-8 rating.
He’s been a big part of the penalty kill the last several seasons.
As for Bertuzzi, this is likely going to be his best opportunity to date that he’s ready for a full-time NHL job.
Bertuzzi, 22, has played eight games over the last two seasons with the Red Wings, with no points and a minus-4 rating (Bertuzzi played one game against St. Louis earlier this month and was minus-3 in a loss to the Blues).
“I said earlier in the season you don’t like guys like that (Bertuzzi) to be on a roller-coaster (between AHL and NHL),” Blashill said. “Tyler’s job is to make us keep him (on the NHL roster).”
Bertuzzi is coming into Saturday on a personal roll, scoring two goals and adding an assist in Thursday’s Grand Rapids’ 5-4 loss to the Chicago Wolves.
In 16 games with Grand Rapids — Bertuzzi started the season late because of a training camp wrist injury with the Red Wings — Bertuzzi had seven goals and seven assists (14 points).
“It was tough getting injured in camp, I didn’t get much playing time to prove myself,” said Bertuzzi, who was the playoff Most Valuable Player last spring leading the Griffins to the Calder Cup championship. “These are kind of the games to prove myself. Getting called up and playing with Frans, this is where I have to show I can play in this league and try to stick.”
Bertuzzi is fully recovered from the wrist injury.
“It takes a couple of weeks to get the game back and just the physical aspect and mental,” Bertuzzi said. “I feel like I got it back and I feel real good. I’m skating well and making some good plays.
“I’m excited to be here and excited to play.”
Because he’s been up before, Bertuzzi feels a sense of normalcy, now, being in the NHL.
“The guys are great up here, and I feel good in practice and know all the drills,” Bertuzzi said. “I’m not going into practice unaware of anything. I know the systems, that makes it a lot easier.
“Coach (Todd) Nelson (Grand Rapids’ coach) does a lot of the same drills and same strategy.”
The Red Wings’ conclude the pre-holiday portion of the schedule with a key divisional game against Boston. The Bruins are suddenly charging toward second place in the Atlantic Division, having gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
They lead the Red Wings by eight points.
“They have a lot of confidence over there,” Nielsen said. “Right now, it’s a huge, huge game for us.”
The lack of a successful home stand preceding this road trip, said Blashill, has intensified the importance of these games.
“We’re in critical stages here,” Blashill said. “We have to win hockey games. We haven’t won enough and we know that. We didn’t win enough when we were at home, so now you have to win these road games, and certainly against a team that is occupying the spot you want.”
RED WINGS at BRUINS
Faceoff: 1 p.m., Saturday, TD Garden
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
Outlook: The Bruins (18-10-5, 41 points) have won seven of their last 10 games despite key injuries and Thursday, flu throughout the lineup…D Charlie McAvoy (5 goals, 14 assists) is a contender for Rookie of the Year.