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Murphy: Some Bruins Fans Must Stop Longing For Bertuzzi

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Is Toronto Maple Leafs winger Tyler Bertuzzi about to become public enemy No. 1 with the Boston Bruins fans who still long for him to sign with the Bruins this offseason?

Bertuzzi became an instant fan favorite when he was acquired by the Boston Bruins from the Detroit Red Wings at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. His tenacious style and offensive prowess fit right in with a record-setting Bruins squad that was poised for one more Stanley Cup for then-captain Patrice Bergeron and longtime Bruins pivot David Krejci. Of course, that dream became a nightmare as the Bruins blew a 3-1 series lead and lost in seven games to the eventual Eastern Conference champions, the Florida Panthers.

Tyler Bertuzzi went on to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency despite the Bruins offering him more term. He has finally become the player for the Leafs he was in the 2023 stretch run for the Bruins. He already has a fight with Bruins defenseman Parker Wotherspoon under his belt and seems ready to become a key figure for the enemy in the next chapter of the Bruins-Leafs rivalry that the Black and Gold have owned since 1959.

 

 

“We know what they’re about,” Bertuzzi said after a recent practice. “We played them multiple times this year. We’re excited to get going.”

Yes, Bertuzzi and the Bruins played the Maple Leafs four times, to be exact, and the Bruins won all four. Bertuzzi went on to heap praise on his former, albeit a short-lived stint, team.

“They play good as a team,” Bertuzzi offered. “Good goaltending. They have some top players who can score goals. We’re excited to shut them down. They still have some leaders that were on the team last year that led the way, and a lot of good players and a lot of depth.”

Bertuzzi was then asked about the Bruins fans who just can’t seem to get over the breakup and accept that he plays for the enemy now. They also can’t seem to admit that he was a turnover machine in the playoffs, with one of those turnovers leading to an overtime winner for the Panthers. It’s quite amazing how they can’t let the turnovers of David Pastrnak stop overshadowing the fact he had 113 points and was a Hart Trophy Finalist last season, and has followed that up with 110 points on a roster that lost Bergeron, Krejci, Bertuzzi, Taylor Hall, and Dmitri Orlov from their offensive arsenal. When the Bruins lost to the Panthers, two local radio hosts in Boston actually suggested the Bruins trade Pastrnak so they could keep Bertuzzi and Orlove. 

Bertuzzi praised his still strong fan club here in Boston but admitted his and the collective goal of the Maple Leafs will be to shut them up.

“They have great fans. very passionate about their sports,” Bertuzzi said of the Bruins faithful. “We have to keep them a little quiet.”

Will the Bruins fans’ infatuation with Bertuzzi continue, or will they boo him like they do any other key player on any other rival’s roster? Bruins fans can be one of the best 7th players in the NHL and literally help sway a game. Go back and watch the third period of the epic Game 7 against the Maple Leafs in 2013. They also help create villains and intensify rivalries. It’s time to do that with Bertuzzi and stop acting like he’s still on the Bruins.

 

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