Tyler Bertuzzi's first NHL goal borne out of grit

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Chicago — Everyone kind of suspected it was going to be this type of goal.

Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t going to be the type of player what will skate down the wing and score with a blazing shot, or make a beautiful move and roof it, make any sort of highlight play.

Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) controls the puck against Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane during the first period.

Bertuzzi’s first NHL goal Sunday was picture-perfect. Right in front of the crease, batting in a rebound — two whacks, actually — nothing flashy.

“It’s going to be gritty and that’s what I’m going to be keep doing,” Bertuzzi said.

Bertuzzi had several prime opportunities before Sunday’s 10th game, but couldn’t convert.

He didn’t miss this one.

“I’ve had some good looks,” said Bertuzzi, who also had an assist Sunday. “Just go to the net, and that’s what I did.”

Coach Jeff Blashill saw many similar goals from Bertuzzi when both were in Grand Rapids, and watched as Bertuzzi has evolved his game and got stronger physically.

But that area around the net is where Bertuzzi has thrived, and continues to make his mark.

“He’s got great hands in front of the net,” Blashill said. “He’s a junkyard dog to get to the net and you’re going to see a lot more goals like that from him.”

Bertuzzi has impressed since being recalled from Grand Rapids when Luke Glendening (hand) was injured before the Christmas break.
And along the way, Bertuzzi has gotten constant reinforcement from forward Martin Frk, a next-door locker neighbor, and longtime teammate in Grand Rapids.

Frk has made sure to tell Bertuzzi that first NHL goal was on its way.

Fittingly, Frk earned an assist on Bertuzzi’s goal.

“He tells me every day that I’m going to score,” Bertuzzi said. “I’m happy he assisted on it. We’re real close buddies. We played together last year and I’m happy he’s the one who helped me.”

Turgeon debut

With forwards Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm both out of the lineup with lower body injuries, forward Dominic Turgeon made his NHL debut.

Turgeon played 9 minutes, 1 second on 13 shifts and blocked three shots while seeing time on the penalty kill.

That first block caught Turgeon flush in the arm early in the first period.

“My arm was kind of numb,” Turgeon said. “We checked it out and it looked perfect so I was able to get back out there.

“It was exciting, something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid. When you get the call it’s a dream come true, and it was a ton of fun to play.”

Blashill liked what he saw from Turgeon, a 2014 third-round draft pick, who has progressed in Grand Rapids.

“He’s somebody I definitely felt trust with him when he was on the ice,” Blashill said. “He strong on the stick, wins stick battles and he’s committed to having a complete game.

“We wanted the best penalty killer in GR and everyone told me he’s the best one and he did a good job.”

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Turgeon’s father Pierre played 19 seasons in the NHL and scored 515 goals, and is currently an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings.

Parents Pierre and Elisabeth were in attendance Sunday in Chicago.

“It meant a lot that (Los Angeles) let him come here and it was exciting my family could come to watch,” Turgeon said.

Injury update

Turgeon will stay with the Red Wings at least through Tuesday’s game against Dallas, as Blashill said Abdelkader and Helm aren’t likely to be ready.
Blashill said both veteran forwards would be re-evaluated Monday back in Detroit.

“We’ll know more (Monday),” Blashill said. “I don’t want to put a time frame on it but I don’t expect them for Dallas.”

Abdelkader was walking around the Red Wings’ locker room after Sunday’s game in obvious discomfort.

Helm appeared to suffer a knee injury during a battle along the boards in Pittsburgh.

Early start

Sunday’s game began at 11:30 a.m. Central time for national television.

That would usually be the time for a typical road game-morning skate — and the Red Wings were coming in from playing in Pittsburgh the day before.

But Blashill wasn’t concerned.

“We got in and were able to have dinner, guys got their sleep,” Blashill said. “Both teams have to play the time. A lot of times, guys like it  (the early start), especially this time of year. It takes away the morning skate. Just go and play.”

Goaltender Petr Mrazek got up at 7:30 a.m. and went about his normal routine.

“I kind of like these (early) games,” Mrazek said. “You get out early, walk out of the rink, and it’s daylight.”