Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From Public Enemy number one, to sweater number seven in Red and gold

“Obviously, I'm well aware that I wasn't the most popular pickup in Calgary Flames history”—Todd Bertuzzi offers up his interpretation of the reaction to his arrival in Calgary, apparently after having spent some time listening to Calgary sports radio over the last few months

The much travelled Todd Bertuzzi was officially introduced to the Calgary media and by extension to Flame fans across Alberta on Monday.

He was part of an airlift of five new members of the Flames brethren, set to take Calgary to the Promised Land or at least a couple of rounds deeper into the NHL Playoffs in May and if all goes well June of 2009.

Bertuzzi, who at one time was probably the most despised non Edmonton Oiler to ever skate at the Saddledome, faced the usual string of questions regarding his much publicized legal troubles on Monday, though not particularly informative for the media hordes as to the progress or lack of in the current proceedings with Steve Moore.

As for his arrival as a Calgary Flame, he was a tad more chatty, admitting that when his name was announced as the latest acquisition by Daryl Sutter the reaction was to say the least mixed. While he is well aware that there is a good segment of the Flames fanatics who consider it complete sedition to allow him to pull on a Flames sweater, he asked for some time to convince those that may never be convinced that he can be a productive contributor to the Flames playoff aspirations.

Acknowledging that playing in Calgary brings a particular type of interest and pressure to his play, he none the less said that he welcomed the opportunity to play in an environment where hockey is a passion for both players and fans.

One particular bonus for him as he prepares to head into a Flames training camp, is the unqualified support of the teams captain Jarome Iginla, who was instrumental in convincing both Bertuzzi and the Flames that Bertuzzi’s addition to the Flames line up was something that could work well for both.

While his legal troubles will continue to pick up headlines as the legal system makes its meandering way to a civil judgment, the Flames are convinced that none of that will prove to be a distraction to the task at hand.

It certainly was a surprise announcement when Sutter added Bertuzzi to his teams depth chart, one which has certainly made the Flames a hot talk topic over the course of the summer, what the fans will now be watching with interest will be to see whether the Bertuzzi of 2008-09 can resurrect the play of the one that for many years found that there wasn’t a lot of cheering for him upon his arrival on Saddledome ice.

As 2008-09 progresses he and many hockey fans will be interested to see how the emotions of the fans shift, that of course will no doubt be controlled by the caliber of his play and the success of the team.
As could be expected, Bertuzzi's introduction proved to overshadow the other four additions to Mike Keenans bench, and his presence certainly became the mains story of the day far beyond the Calgary media crews.

Globe and Mail--Bertuzzi eager to prove he can shine in spotlight
Calgary Herald-- Calgary Flames introduce five off-season acquisitions

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