Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill explains why Tyler Bertuzzi hasn’t played in pre-season

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi found himself the subject of intense media and fan scrutiny when it was revealed by GM Steve Yzerman that he was the lone player on the roster who had not received the COVID-19 vaccination, and that it was his choice not to do so.

Meanwhile, the rugged forward is still working his way back into the lineup following successful back surgery that limited him to all but eight regular season games last season. And according to head coach Jeff Blashill, that’s why he’s yet to appear in exhibition play for the Red Wings.

“Returning to play coming off of major back surgery, there’s a lot that goes into that,” Blashill explained. “Part of it is just getting your body ready. He hasn’t skated this hard in a lot of months – way more months than other people. So I think that part of it is just getting his body ready and to a spot his body’s ready to be comfortable, to go out and be successful. He’ll practice today, and we’ll be taking our time, and ultimately our goal is to have him ready for Game 1 against Tampa, and we’d love to have him in exhibition games that can help feel your way into it.”

“Larks referred to the Ricky Bobby moment in his first game back, and sometimes that’s how it feels. And so we’d love to get him in some games, but right now we’re just making sure that we’re progressing at the right speed.”

The nephew of former NHL All-Star and Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, the Red Wings selected Tyler 58th overall (Round 2) of the 2013 NHL Draft. During the 2019-20 NHL Season, Bertuzzi led all Red Wings scorers with 21 goals (27 assists) while putting up a career high 48 points.

– – Quotes via Max Bultman Link – –

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