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Proud Uncle Todd watches nephew

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Todd Bertuzzi and his nephew, Tyler, skated a few shifts against one another in Friday's Red Wings scrimmage in Traverse City. Tyler Bertuzzi was the Wings' second-round draft pick this summer. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.Todd Bertuzzi wasn’t showing it on the outside, but there was no denying his excitement Friday afternoon.

That’s because the 17-year NHL veteran got the unique opportunity to play against his nephew Tyler Bertuzzi in the Red Wings’ intra-squad scrimmage on Day 2 of training camp.

“I played a couple of shifts (against him),” Todd Bertuzzi said. “At least I was able to watch and see how he was doing. He looked pretty good out there. I think sometimes when you’re younger you get kind of running around out there, but I thought he made a couple of nice plays and did well.”

Tyler Bertuzzi, who was the Wings’ second-round draft pick last June, got the upper-hand on his uncle, helping Team Howe defeat Todd’s Team Lindsay, 2-0, before a jam-packed crowd at Centre ICE Arena.

“It was obviously exciting, growing up I watched him play all of the time with the Red Wings and in Florida and Vancouver,” Tyler said. “Last year, I went to a few Red Wings’ games and just to be on the ice with him was pretty exciting.”

Known more as an agitator than a play-maker, Tyler Bertuzzi is enjoying his time in northern Michigan before he’s sent back to Guelph where he’ll play his third OHL season with the Storm. Todd Bertuzzi also played with the Storm from 1991-95.

In two OHL seasons, Tyler Bertuzzi has produced 19 goals with 20 assists and 185 penalty minutes in 104 regular-season games.

Asked about following his uncle’s path from juniors to the Red Wings’ organization, Tyler Bertuzzi said, “Two steps from the OHL where he gave me advice there and now in the big leagues and he’s giving me more advice. I’m kind of following in his footsteps and hopefully I can be here one day.”

He hasn’t seen many of his nephew’s games, but from the few that Tod Bertuzzi has seen, he likes Tyler’s chances.

“He’s a kid that likes to get running around and set the tone,” Todd said. “I know he’s trying to work on his skill game and trying to take care of the puck a little bit better. This is a step in the right direction for him.”

Not known for his sentimental side, Uncle Todd was to get some actions photos of him and his nephew on the ice so he can share them with family back home.

“It was a neat experience,” Todd explained. “We’re going to go grab dinner tonight. I haven’t really been able to see him. It’s kind of been rushing around here.”

SCRIMMAGE NOTES: Defensive prospect Max Nicastro and forward Daniel Alfredsson scored for Team Howe in its 2-0 win over Team Lindsay in Friday’s scrimmage. … Andreas Athanasiou suffered a left shoulder injury late in the first period of Friday’s scrimmage. The 6-foot center was injured during an open-ice collision with defenseman Richard Nedomlel. Athanasiou returned to the scrimmage for a short time, but came off the ice in the second period and did not return. … Trevor Parkes suffered an eye injury during Thursday’s practice. The Fort Erie, Ontario, native split time between the Red Wings’ minor-league affiliates in Grand Rapids and Toledo last season, producing 17 goals and 19 assists in 55 games. He did not play in Friday’s scrimmage.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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