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Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi ‘back to normal life’ after injury-plagued season

MLive Ann Arbor logo MLive Ann Arbor 7/31/2021 Ansar Khan, mlive.com
a hockey player standing in the snow: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi (59) tries to chase down the puck in the first period of their NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, on Thursday, January 14, 2021. © Mike Mulholland | mmulholl@mlive/Mike Mulholland | MLive.com Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi (59) tries to chase down the puck in the first period of their NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

Three months after back surgery, Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is skating again, working out off the ice, feeling good and looking forward to being ready for the start of training camp in Traverse City.

“I never thought I’d say I’m excited for training camp, but I am,” Bertuzzi said Saturday, after signing a two-year extension valued at $4.75 million a season.

A promising start to the 2021 season (five goals and seven points in nine games) soon turned to pain and frustration due to back pain. After rest and rehab and multiple attempts to get back on the ice, Bertuzzi finally underwent the procedure on April 30.

“Last year was very tough physically, mentally, just being in pain every day,” Bertuzzi, 26, said.

“I was working out, skating, it would flare up on me again. I think surgery was the right play and I’m feeling really good right now. I’m very happy with how everything went and the decision we made. … Just back to normal life, doing everything, working out, skating.”

The rehab is going as planned with no setbacks. He has been skating with, among others, Dylan Larkin, who also is expected to be ready for the start of camp after suffering a late-season neck injury.

“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, not try to push it, just slowly come back and get better and stronger in the gym,” he said. “I don’t want to be too aggressive with it.”

Bertuzzi also is happy to have a contract fairly soon, after going through arbitration last year, which is rare for this organization.

“It was relatively quick, there wasn’t much going back and forth,” Bertuzzi said. “Once there was a little bit of an even ground, it was easy to (agree).

“I think it works out good for both sides. Coming off a back injury, this gives me time to get back and prove myself and make sure everything is good and be as healthy as I can.”

Bertuzzi is excited about the club’s offseason additions, including center Pius Suter, a junior hockey teammate of his and Robby Fabbri’s at OHL Guelph from 2013 to 2015.

“It’s good to be playing with him again,” Bertuzzi said. “He had a great season last year his first year (in the NHL, with Chicago). He’s a centerman, too, so that adds a lot to the team.

“Some good players coming in. I talked to Larks and Fabbs yesterday. We’re all very excited for this year.”

More: Steve Yzerman assesses roster following offseason moves

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