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One game to gel for Bertuzzi

by Dan Rosen / Detroit Red Wings
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- It hasn't been the perfect situation for Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary to try to get familiar with one another as a line, but that's what Wednesday night was for.

Zetterberg sat out the first eight preseason games with a cranky groin, but was good enough to go in Karlstad on Wednesday against Farjestads BK of the Swedish Elite League and the plan going in was for him and Bertuzzi to establish a semblance of in-game chemistry heading into Friday's season opener at Ericsson Globe.

Cleary and Zetterberg have played together enough that they already have chemistry. Bertuzzi is the wild card.

"You can (gain chemistry in practice) a little bit because in drills you can get a feel of where he wants to be on the ice and he can probably learn where I want him to be, but it's a lot easier to do it when we play games," Zetterberg told after the Wings' pregame skate in Stockholm. "It hasn't been the perfect situation with me out, but we're glad as a line we get a chance to play at least one game."

Bertuzzi, who has poured over the details of the Wings' system throughout training camp, knows he'll have to adjust by playing with Zetterberg, who loves to carry the puck and create space with his nifty moves.

"Z is a pretty easy guy to play with because he does pretty much everything well and a lot of things great," Bertuzzi told "He's one of those guys you have to read off and playing with him obviously takes the puck out of mine and Cleary's hands a little bit with the way he carries it and holds onto it, so for me and Dan it's about getting open in those spots to get shots off. It's something I'm going to have to adapt to."

Zetterberg isn't worried. He has always been impressed with Bertuzzi's hands and vision, which aren't always attributes you find in players that possess his size and strength.

"He's a fun player to play with because he really makes a lot of room for other guys and when he gets the chance he'll put it away," Zetterberg said.

Even so, it might take Bertuzzi and Zetterberg a little bit of time to find each other.

"As a left wing here it's a lot different than being a left wing in other systems," Zetterberg said. "You really have to learn where to go and where to be so that will take a little bit of time, but once you've got that down it makes it so much easier."

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