Bertuzzi’s suggestion is paying dividends
DALLAS -- Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle can be a taskmaster who wants things done his way, but don’t accuse him of not being able to listen.
Before a game against Calgary in late November, a struggling Todd Bertuzzi went to Carlyle to discuss the possibility of moving to the left wing instead of the right-side spot that he has played for most of his career.
With his effort to mesh Bertuzzi with Andy McDonald and Chris Kunitz failing, Carlyle took the suggestion and put it into action.
“We tried for the better part of the first two months to put him on the right side,” Carlyle said. “With our team and the way we play, he was the one to come to us, in a one-on-one meeting and said he felt he could play on the left wing, which would be more beneficial to the type of hockey that we like to play.
“We did that and he’s been there ever since.”
Since being put on the top line with center Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Bertuzzi has flourished and is beginning to resemble the player that was the NHL’s top power forward in 2001-02 and 2002-03 while with the Vancouver Canucks.
After battling groin problems and a concussion that sidelined him for 14 games, Bertuzzi has found his game alongside the 22-year-old forwards, contributing nine goals and 20 points in his last 18 games.
Bertuzzi had his first two-goal game since the 2005-06 season in the Ducks’ 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
“He takes two guys with him wherever he goes,” Perry said. “It opens up a lot of room for the rest of us, for Getzy and I to have that extra little time to make plays.”
Bertuzzi isn’t going to match his seminal 46-goal, 97-point season with the Canucks in 2002-03, but he has been a force in front of the net, providing the sort of presence that the Ducks haven’t always had, even in their Stanley Cup-winning season in 2006-07.
Before his recent run of points, Bertuzzi was using his 6-foot-3, 231-pound frame to provide effective screens in front of opposing goaltenders that often resulted in goals, even though he wasn’t credited with an assist.
That was the case against the Wild as goalie Josh Harding couldn’t see Chris Pronger’s slap shot from the point until it hit the net.
“A lot of times, that guy doesn’t get a lot of credit,” Pronger said.
Bertuzzi is enjoying his time alongside Getzlaf and Perry.
“We’re very similar, all three of us in our style,” Bertuzzi said. “We like to control the puck down low and we’re all capable of making plays with the puck. And we can put the puck in the net. At least those two can on a consistent basis. Playing like that, it’s been a lot of fun with those two for sure.”
Although the seven-plus seasons with the Canucks were filled with the highest and lowest moments of his career, Bertuzzi has sought to focus on his future in Anaheim.
“I really don’t look in the past,” said Bertuzzi, who signed a two-year, $8-million contract in July. “The past is the past. Especially for me.
“You know what? I want to win. I came here to win. I knew that this would be my best opportunity to win a Cup.”
at Dallas, 12:30 p.m. PST, Ch. 56
Site -- American Airlines Center.
Radio -- 830.
Records -- Ducks 27-17-6; Stars 27-18-5.
Record vs. Stars -- 1-3-0.
Update -- The Ducks had struggled against Dallas all season until a 4-2 win at home Tuesday as Scott Niedermayer tied a career high with three points, getting a goal and two assists. The Ducks are trying for their seventh consecutive win, which would tie a franchise mark set in 1999.