ALSO ON SLAM!
Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Bertuzzi drops to third lineWHISTLER, B.C. (CP) -- After working all summer towards re-establishing himself as a first-line left-winger, Todd Bertuzzi will be on neither the top line or left wing when the Vancouver Canucks open their regular season Saturday against the New York Rangers.
Canucks coach Marc Crawford says he plans to use Bertuzzi as the team's third-line centre, a move that reflects both a downgrade in the 24-year-old's role and an upgrade in Vancouver's over-all talent level at forward.
"I haven't talked to him about it, so whatever happens happens," Bertuzzi told the Vancouver Sun. "I know playing on the third line I won't get as much of an opportunity. My ultimate goal is to get up there on the top line. But they've got the last say, and whatever they want I'm going to do.
"For us to make the playoffs, I'll do anything."
Sophomore Bill Muckalt bumped Bertuzzi off Mark Messier's line early in training camp, and outstanding rookie left-winger Steve Kariya won the job alongside Andrew Cassels and Alex Mogilny on the second line.
Crawford said Bertuzzi will play with Donald Brashear on his right wing, and either Brad May, Matt Cooke or Peter Schaefer on left wing.