Both Darcy Tucker and Todd Bertuzzi are free to go to any team who might want them. And so I ask, if you were a General Manager looking for an aggressive forward, and you had to choose one, which one would it be?
Both are 33 years old and both are right wingers.
Bertuzzi is bigger at 6’3″ 245 pounds, while Tucker is 5’10 and 178 pounds.
Tucker has 197 goals, 239 assists in 813 games, along with 1296 penalty minutes.
Bertuzzi has 240 goals, 340 assists in 793 games, with 1147 penalty minutes.
Both have a sordid history of nastiness on the ice. Tucker, for example, in the 2002 playoffs, blew out the Islander’s Mike Peca’s knee with a questionable check, and has played with an edge all of his career.
And then there’s Bertuzzi.
If you haven’t heard because you’ve been living in the jungles of Brazil for several years, it happened like this. In 2004, while Bertuzzi and his Vancouver Canucks were in Colorado for a game against the Avalanche, young Steve Moore sort of, questionably, went after Canucks captain Markus Naslund’s head, causing a slight concussion and three games missed for Naslund.
The Canucks were quite choked about this incident by this young nobody, so a while later, when the Avalanche came to Vancouver, the sucker punch heard round the world happened. Bertuzzi, Naslund’s best friend on the team, was out on the ice, as was Moore, with only a few minutes left in the game. As Moore was skating up the ice, Bertuzzi quickly caught up to him from behind and blindsided the surprised kid with a shot to the side of the head which caused Moore, Bertuzzi, and several players from both teams to fall to the ice.
Moore not only ended up with everyone on top of him, but also with a broken neck and a pro career finished.
After that came a suspension, court, cops, lawsuits, bad words, bad blood, the blaming of others, tears, apologies, bitterness, and Bertuzzi has never been the same player since. He was traded by the Canucks to the Florida Panthers for star goalie Roberto Luongo, but that was a bust because he was either hurt or non-productive. Bertuzzi was then was given a chance by his friend, GM Brian Burke in Anaheim, but that obviously fell flat too because old friend Burke said goodbye and don’t come back.
Now he’s a free agent. Just like Tucker.
So who would you choose – Tucker or Bertuzzi?
Either could be revitalized in new surroundings and help your team. Or they could be absolute duds, destroy any cherished chemistry your team has built, and be a big waste of money and a serious negative.
Frankly, I wouldn’t take either.
And I hope Montreal doesn’t also.
(But if I had to choose, I think it would be Tucker.)