Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Is Bertuzzi on the block?

Rumours, they are the currency of the NHL when the trade deadline rolls around and in Canuckland they are the lifeblood of the team’s fan base.

The BIG one making the rounds as the days dwindle to the deadline has it that a number of teams are making serious inquiries about acquiring the talents of Todd Bertuzzi. The Canuck’s winger, who has been an enigma this year, normally has been thought of as an untouchable in past years. But with the Canuck’s struggling in the last few months, the idea of a major shake up has its appeal to the Canuck faithful.

The Canuck’s GM Dave Nonis and head coach marc Crawford have done their best to try and deflect the idea of a Bertuzzi trade, but the questions keep getting asked and the possible trading partners make for some interesting options.

The latest members of the Big Bert Sweeps are the Ottawa Senators and the Philadelphia Flyers, two teams that could use a power forward, if Bertuzzi could return to the style of play after a trade. If the Canucks want a defenceman then the Sens are probably their best bet as that’s the one commodity that the Senators are player rich in, Chris Phillips would be the most likely carrot offered up, the idea of trading off Wade Redden or Zdeno Chara would find John Muckler facing a hostile Senators fan base and equally nasty media. But Phillips might be able to be pried away from the Sens with fewer outcries.

As for the Flyers, Bobby Clarke says No to any idea of picking up the moody Canuck winger, which probably means he’s burning up the lines trying to arrange a trade. Though he does make a valid point that Bertuzzi’s huge salary will cause whatever team wants him to suffer some serious salary cap problems.

Toronto found themselves on the rumour list but, with their playoff hopes fading with each game, it’s felt that they may become sellers rather than buyers by Thursday morning.

No doubt, there are a few other teams interested in Bertuzzi, and in the end it will all depend on how much they are willing to give up to get him and lose out on cap space, all major considerations in the new era of the NHL.

For Nonis and Crawford the sideshow of the Bertuzzi rumours will probably be even more of a distraction than already exists for the team that is underperforming in the West. Most folks hope that when the deadline passes Bertuzzi is still in Canuck blue and white. If he is, it will be hoped that he returns to his dominating style of play, leading his team to a Stanley Cup run and returning him to that status that once made him considered untouchable in Vancouver.

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