Red Wings pre-season game day: Bertuzzi returns in exhibition clash with Pittsburgh

Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
2 years ago
Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi will make his 2021 pre-season debut Thursday when his team hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7:30 p.m. ET game at Little Caesars Arena.
The Red Wings have lost three consecutive exhibition games, including one to Pittsburgh (by a 5-1 score) on Oct. 3.
You’ll be able to watch this game on the NHL Network and Bally Sports Detroit. Audio feeds should be available on WXVT-FM 97.1 The Ticket and on the Red Wings’ official website.

The Red Wings

Detroit will dress the following 21 players for tonight’s game:
Forwards: Mitchell Stephens, Lucas Raymond, Pius Suter, Taro Hirose, Riley Barber, Carter Rowney, Givani Smith, Jonatan Berggren, Bobby Ryan, Tyler Bertuzzi, Sam Gagner, Joe Veleno
Defensemen: Filip Hronek, Marc Staal, Luke Witkowski, Dan Renouf, Gustav Lindström, Moritz Seider, Adam Brubacher
Goaltenders: Thomas Greiss, Calvin Pickard
Of note: All five of the players ranked (and two of the honorable mentions) on our list of the top young Red Wings players pushing to make the lineup are playing tonight.
Bertuzzi will play his first exhibition game after missing the majority of the 2020–21 season with a back injury.
His situation is complicated by his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a stance he reaffirmed to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press on Thursday. If Bertuzzi remains unvaccinated, he will likely not be able to enter Canada for any games against the seven teams based in the country.

The Penguins

It appears Pittsburgh will be going with a relatively young lineup for Thursday’s game:
(Defenseman Mark Friedman will also be playing for Pittsburgh tonight; Louis Domingue and Casey DeSmith will be the two goaltenders).

Players to watch

What can Mitchell Stephens offer to this Red Wings team? The 2015 second-round pick has been an inconsistent producer in the American Hockey League and has primarily been cast as a defensive forward thus far in the NHL. Even though it looks like Stephens will probably start the season on Detroit’s fourth line, it will be interesting to see whether the 24-year-old can unlock his offensive potential.
Dominik Simon has returned to Pittsburgh after a disastrous season with the Calgary Flames in which he was routinely made a healthy scratch and ultimately sent to the AHL. Sidney Crosby’s former winger was an effective secondary scorer in his first go-round with the Penguins; now, it looks like he’s in a battle just to stay in the NHL (let alone reunite with No. 87).

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