i grew up in city with an intense love for hockey, where all the boys in second grade would go to practice at 5am and be trading hockey cards by recess, where my uncle would buy expensive gear year after year for my cousins, when i knew names like lemieux, bure, and gretzky and little else because i personally did not grow up with the game in my family's living room.
in university i saw bertuzzi ward off two guys with one arm while stick-handling the puck with his left hand, all the way down the ice . i gained a great respect for the beast of a man. i'd never seen anyone do that. a year or two later a young kid from the avalanche let a puck slide by so he could hit our captain and top-scorer of the league hard in the head. bert retaliated two games later and was suspended. there was almost a mike tyson/evander holyfield type milieu to the situation, but this one was more career-ending. if the punch didn't snap three vertebrae and cause a concussion, the dogpile with players from each team certainly would have. when bert finally came back to the game, he was drafted to the eastern conference and i lost interest in hockey. so you can imagine my surprise to be taking photos during the national anthem this saturday and read the words bertuzzi on detroit's number 44 player. detroit won with 1 second to go in overtime. did i mention the red wings are my favorite team?
there was a fat child at the concession stand during intermission wearing a canucks bertuzzi jersey. i felt sad for kids like him, who had to watch their hero fall.