May 07, 2011

Pucks On The 'Net: Bertuzzi Of Old

Todd Bertuzzi was a force in game 4 of the Detroit/San Jose series. In fact, when Big Bert scored his highlight reel goal (even if it was offside), I half expected the assists to go to Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison.

I have been Bertuzzi's harshest pre-Steve Moore critic. Since the Moore incident he has no shortage of critics. For me he remains an enigma at best, and a frustrating, almost dumb hockey player at worst. Now late in his career he has found and accepted a nice niche in Detroit and has not gotten enough credit.

That being said, I have always said any team with Todd Bertuzzi on it will not win a championship. Detroit staved off elimination in game 4, but it's only a matter of time before the Wings bow out and my statement is correct for another season.

Here's some thoughts for a Saturday morning.
  • There have been rumors swirling about the possibility of Nicklas Lidstrom retiring after these playoffs. His ice time is down a bit this season, but the 41 year old continues to be arguably the best defenseman in the league. If he does retire it will not be because he can not play anymore, that's for sure. As one of the most intelligent players ever, he's probably got a couple of more seasons at this high level, and could carry on beyond that in lesser but still valuable capacities as he gets older. 
  • I thought it was interesting that the Red Wings went with the youngsters - Helm, Abdelkader and Eaves - in the dying moments, and they got the winning goal. They played very well all night.
  • Detroit owned the Sharks in the first period of this game. The Sharks showed some great fortitude in coming back and tying the game in the third period. The Sharks of old would have folded. They definitely have undergone a maturation process that, combined with their incredible record since the All Star break, may make them the team beat as the playoffs continue.
  • The only real weakness I see in San Jose's armor may be their defense. They lack mobility and elite puck movement. If you can establish a penetrating forecheck and force them into mistakes you can beat them. That's easier said than done, of course.
  • The Bruins finished the job and eliminated the Flyers. Now they face the upstart Tampa Bay Lightning. One of the interesting stories of the series will be Bruins goalie Tim Thomas vs TB's Martin St. Louis. The two were teammates at the University of Vermont in the 1990s and have followed similar careers. Against long odds both beat the odds and, after long being dismissed, became two of the best players in the world in the past few years.
  • It will be fun to see if Boston assigns 6'9" monster Zdeno Chara to try to shutdown the 5'8" water bug St. Louis.
  • Tampa's goalie Dwayne Roloson and Thomas are two of the most entertaining goalies to watch. Roli has been great. Can Tampa's blue line contain Boston's brutes like Milan Lucic and the red hot Nathan Horton.
  • Canucks vs Predators tonight at 5pm PST. The Canucks would be best advised to finish off the pesky Predators and save themselves a couple of plane trips and get a couple of days of rest. 
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