Training camp has begun and there are already a ton of storylines to follow if you’re a fan of the Detroit Red Wings. While one story seems to be soaking up most of spotlight, there are other developments worth noting as we make our way through the early days of training camp.
Tyler Bertuzzi is Not Vaccinated
Surely you’ve heard this news by now, but in case you haven’t, Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi has opted out of getting vaccinated this season. This means he will not be able to join the team when they cross the Canadian border, and “Bert” will not be paid for the games he misses. All in all, he will miss nine games and forfeit roughly $400,000 in salary. The Red Wings will save on the salary cap while he is out of the lineup, though that hardly matters for a team that is still sitting on $13.3 million in cap space. THW’s Jeff Middleton did a fantastic job of breaking down all of the on-ice impacts this will have on the Red Wings – check it out here.
For most members of the team that were interviewed by the media yesterday, including Bertuzzi, the very first question asked was about the 26-year-old wingers decision.
“Personal choice,” Bertuzzi responded when asked what went into making his decision. “At the end of the day, it was a life decision.” He also mentioned that his decision was pretty “set in stone” and did not go back and forth on it that much.
“It was his choice to not get it,” team captain Dylan Larkin said. “Tyler’s very popular in our room. He’s a very big part of our locker room, and we’re going to miss him on the ice and we’re going to miss him in the locker room when he’s not able to play. But he has our support.”
“Like an injury, you have to find ways to move on and be ready to play,” Larkin added.
“Tyler’s a guy that I love as a person and love as a player. I’m a big fan of Tyler,” head coach Jeff Blashill said. “The NHL allowed our players to make decisions on this and that’s the decision Tyler’s made and we respect it. Obviously we’d love to have everybody vaccinated because then you don’t lose anybody at any point, but I certainly respect the decision.”
“Other guys will get an opportunity when he cannot play,” Blashill added. “There’s not a whole lot more to the story than that.”
If there was one thing that was made clear through these interviews, it’s that there is no animosity between Bertuzzi and his coaches and teammates. What was also made clear is that the snarly winger is feeling close to 100% as he enters the final steps towards coming back from a back injury that held him out of all but nine games last season.
“I would say 95, and the other five is just getting back into game shape. Just getting bumped and hit again, and just getting the body back into moving the way that the body moves in hockey,” Bertuzzi said. Blashill also revealed that he would like to keep Bertuzzi and Larkin together in the lineup as much as he can, so ensuring that Bert gets back to 100% is of the utmost importance for the Red Wings, especially if he’s going to be spending a lot of time on the Red Wings’ top line.
Red Wings Lines Take (Early) Shape
On the first day of camp, the Red Wings’ lines looked like this:
|Tyler Bertuzzi||Dylan Larkin||Filip Zadina|
|Robby Fabbri||Pius Suter||Bobby Ryan|
|Vladislav Namestnikov||Michael Rasmussen||Adam Erne|
|Sam Gagner||Carter Rowney||Givani Smith|
|Taro Hirose||Mitchell Stephens||Lucas Raymond|
|Kirill Tyutyayev||Joe Veleno||Riley Barber|
|Danny DeKeyser||Filip Hronek|
|Nick Leddy||Moritz Seider|
|Marc Staal||Troy Stecher|
|Jordan Oesterle||Gustav Lindstrom|
|Brian Lashoff||Wyatt Newpower|
A few key things to note:
- Jakub Vrana was not available due to visa issues. His situation seems day-to-day as they hoped to get him on a plane yesterday to arrive in Traverse City today. (Update: coach Blashill said today (9/24) that the team expects him to arrive in Traverse City tonight.)
- Jonatan Berggren did not participate due to a lingering injury sustained during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. He did return to the ice today (9/24) though and looks to be at least somewhat good to go.
- There are plenty of other players not mentioned in these lineups that participated yesterday.
The Red Wings had former defenseman and current advisor to the general manager Niklas Kronwall on the ice yesterday to help instruct and work with players. He spent some time working one-on-one with Moritz Seider as well:
Speaking of Seider, this opening lineup gives the first real evidence that Blashill and the Red Wings not only expect him to make the team, but to play a key role for them as well. After GM Steve Yzerman mentioned that the team would carry eight defenseman into the season, it was a pretty safe bet that the 20-year-old was destined for Detroit, but playing alongside veteran defenseman and offseason pickup Nick Leddy is probably the clearest sign of what the expectation is for the ninth pick of the 2019 draft.
One final takeaway is that it looks like the battle for the fourth line center role looks, early on, to be a battle between Carter Rowney and Mitchell Stephens, both of which were brought in during this offseason. It will be interesting to see if either of them really lays claim to that spot.
- Larkin said that he feels good coming off of his own injury. The main focus for him is coming out of training camp as healthy as he is right now and not rush along his recovery plan. Like Bertuzzi, he seems close to 100%.
- The Red Wings’ preseason game on Sept. 30 against the Buffalo Sabres will be broadcasted exclusively from the Red Wings’ website.
Be sure to tune in and watch the early returns from training camp!
- Devin Little write about how Vrana could become the scorer that the Red Wings have been missing for quite some time.
- Kyle Knopp explained why it was a good idea for the Red Wings to bring Bobby Ryan back on a professional tryout agreement.
- Jeff Middleton highlighted three Red Wings award candidates for this season.
- The Grind Line hosted Keith Gave, author of The Russian Five, as well as a writer and producer on the popular documentary of the same name. Be sure to check that out!
I am a Western Michigan University alum whose passion for hockey knows no limits. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Catch me and my fellow Red Wings writers’ YouTube show “The Hockey Writers Grind Line” which drops every Saturday.