Toronto Maple Leafs winger Tyler Bertuzzi played only 21 regular season games and seven playoff games with Boston Bruins superstar winger and captain Brad Marchand. Apparently, though, that was enough for Bertuzzi to realize that behind all the chirping and getting under the opponents’ skin is a great guy and teammate.
Following his team’s game-day skate at TD Garden in advance of their tilt with the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, Tyler Bertuzzi was asked what he learned about Marchand during his short stint in Black and Gold.
“That’s he’s actually a nice guy,” Bertuzzi told reporters at TD Garden on Thursday. “He’s easy to get along with, and he’s a lot of fun to be around.”
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And what about Marchand, the pest that has driven opponents and the NHL Department of Player Safety crazy at times?
“Yeah, I know he’s just full of sh*t now,” Bertuzzi replied. “But he’s going to try and do something tonight, but it’s all in good fun.”
During the Bruins’ seven-game series loss to the Florida Panthers in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Marchand let his love for Bertuzzi’s game be known.
“He’s a little greaseball, I love it,” Marchand said of Bertuzzi after Bertuzzi stole Panthers forward Nick Cousins’ stick as the two players were skating to their respective benches.
After being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, Bertuzzi was an effective teammate of Marchand’s and the Bruins’ when he played with them. The now-28-year-old forward had four goals and 12 assists in 21 regular season games and then finished tied with Marchand with five goals and five assists in seven playoff games.
Instead of being teammates on Thursday night, Bertuzzi and Marchand will be Atlantic Division rival opponents after Bertuzzi signed with the Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason. Despite the Boston Bruins offering him more money and more term, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound winger waited it out in free agency and then ultimately signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Maple Leafs. Things haven’t exactly gone as planned thus far for Bertuzzi and the Leafs, as he has just two goals and an assist in nine games. n