Kent of Matchsticks and Gasoline and Five Hole Fanatics fame was kind enough to share his observations of Mr. Tuzzi from this past season. His insight was appreciated and I have already sent him a dusty VHS copy of this game to show my gratitude. Because he: A) is not me, B) really knows his shit; and C) is above all not me, I blindly trust his words to be gospel and nothing less. Here are his brief thoughts on Bert:
"Sorry to tell you this, but I hated Bertuzzi. He was awful and probably the worst forward in the Flames top 9. Bad in his own end, prone to taking stupid penalties, admitted to taking it easy during the regular season so he would "have something in the tank" come play-offs (where he was, again, useless). Some of my thoughts on him during the year can be found:
In short: I couldn't wait for him to leave. The team will be better without him."
After clicking around for a minute I also came across this, from Earl Sleek in the comments of a FHF post last summer (recall that Bertuzzi was a Duck during the 07-08 year) ...
Three things irked the hell out of me about Bertuzzi last year.
a) He had to be carried around by decent linemates, but was a drag on nearly all of them. An easy way to improve anybody's results (especially defensively) was to take Bert off their line. A possible exception was Ryan Carter, a sort of Pahlsson clone, who was a crazy enough backchecker that it seemed he could carry Bert's defensive load. But that was only a passable solution, not an ideal one.
b) As much as we'd love to see Bertuzzi effectively use his size to crash the net, he hardly ever attempted it. As a matter of fact, whenever Bertuzzi did take the initiative to put a shot on goal, my joke was that his "one shot per game quota" was used up. From that point on, he was passing.
c) When Selanne returned, at first Carlyle tried a Bert-Weight-Selanne second line, which on paper wouldn't have been that bad. However, it was horrid, because as soon as either non-Finn got the puck his first instinct was to give the puck straight to Selanne to "let him do the work". It was to the point where I wondered why the opposition didn't just put three guys on Selanne, because Bert and Weight were obviously looking to him for any offense."
In putting this in the proper context, we have to acknowledge that Bertuzzi was given more ice time and relied upon more during the past two seasons than he will be in '09-'10. Still, those aren't exactly ringing endorsements. "Taking it easy" and "Not using his size effectively" doesn't sound like a guy who will add some grit and throw his weight around.
I've also heard the argument that it's not too big of a risk because it's one year at $1.5 (still a bit pricey in my mind but whatever). I agree that it's not a huge risk -- I just don't think it's a necessary risk, especially when we just took a slight gamble on Jason Williams, who possesses some similar tools and flaws. I'd rather they gamble with giving Leino, Eaves, Williams and Helm more of an opportunity than yank their minutes around.
(And, just throwing this out there, I could be more than wrong about this: Doesn't Babcock have enough responsibilities this year? He'll be trying to get the premier NHL team to the Stanley Cup Finals for the 3rd year in a row, and in between he'll only be coaching Team Canada in Vancouver, where it will be gold medal or bust. If he has to balance that with massaging egos in Detroit for a full season, I wouldn't be surprised if he snaps and stabs an assistant with a skate during an intermission at some point.)