Detroit Red Wings’ trade deadline acquisition Todd Bertuzzi will make his first appearance in the lineup Thursday night as the Red Wings host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Bertuzzi, who played only seven games with the Florida Panthers before back surgery knocked him out of the lineup in November, confirmed after Thursday’s morning skate that his back is fully healed and that he feels that he is in game shape.
“It’s fun to be part of a team again,” said Bertuzzi. “The mental part is pretty much done, it’s (the back) 100 percent healed. I’m going to treat it that way and try to get some hits early and get involved in the game.”
Dan Cleary will also return to the lineup, having recovered from a right knee sprain.
“We’re very excited to have them back and get some depth back,” head coach Mike Babcock said.
Bertuzzi will play on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, a spot previously filled by the injured Henrik Zetterberg and taken as of late by rookie Valtteri Filppula.