- Todd Bertuzzi's short career with the Florida Panthers came to end with a respectable 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists) in 7 games. The trade that brought Bertuzzi to South Florida will go down in infamy as not only the worst in franchise history but truly one of the worst in NHL history. The trade sent another FI, #1 goalie and current league leader in wins Robert Luongo, to Vancouver for a dicey situation, the oft-injured Todd Bertuzzi a player permanently affected by the cloud of contempt hanging over him from the Steve Moore punch. That attack, some would say, has seemed to mark the end of his elite status. But Florida attempted to correct the error of their ways at the trade deadline over 3 weeks ago by shipping Bertuzzi off to the nearest sucker for some draft picks, picks that could maybe one day provide hope. What Florida did, though, was not to recompensate for the worst trade they could have ever made but instead hope to shove off the bad "juju" associated with Bertuzzi. With so much preseason talk about success in Florida hoisted on the shoulders of Bertuzzi there was too much expectation for a player who was seriously injured. He was so injured in fact that one must scratch their heads wondering why Detroit picked him up. Aside from the price tag, trading for a rental player like Bertuzzi, one with a severe post-lockout record (he had MAJOR back surgery, this year!), seemed like a desperate attempt by the Redwings just to block out the other Western Conference bidders. If it works out for the Redwings, who didn't even get any product from their deadline acquisition until almost a month later, then good for them. Right now it seems unlikely. One cannot blame Bertuzzi for being a non-factor in last night's 2-1 SO loss at home to the bottom-dwelling Blue Jackets considering the heft of his recovery. He logged 16:21 in ice time while managing no shots, I repeat NO shots! In fact his only chance to score was in the second frame of the SO where he missed the net altogether. Only the remaining time will tell for Bertuzzi who right now seems like the err of yet another franchise. In other FI news Chris Osgood was saddled with the loss even though he was splendid in stopping 29 of 30 shots in regulation and OT but only 3 of 6 in the SO frame. Receiving plenty of playing time in order to let Dominik Hasek heal as much as he can before the playoffs Osgood has been excellent. He is 9-3-5 with a .904 save percentage and a 2.52 goals against average. He hasn't loss in regulation since January 6 going 5-0-4 in that time.
- Olli Jokinen is a natural scorer, at least with the Florida Panthers. He tallied a goal and an assist in Thursday's 4-2 home loss to the Senators. With playoffs realistically but not officially an afterthought Jokinen can look to keep his team inspired with his fabulous play. The goal, his 35th of the year, makes it 2 straight seasons with 35+ goals. He now has 78 points in 74 games. In his last 3 games alone Jokinen has 9 points including a 3 game goal scoring streak in which he has netted 4. He is currently tied with Evgeni Malkin for 16th in the league in points.
4 games are up for grabs Friday night, mostly West Coast affairs. As always, keep posted for all your FI news. Until next time.