No boos for Bert

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

TURIN -- It was the first time Todd Bertuzzi played an away game all season without being booed.

Maybe it's because he's Italian.

Maybe, on the other hand, it's because nobody in Italy has heard of him.

Maybe - considering most of the fans in the rink were Canadians - the controversy surrounding Wayne Gretzky and the alleged involvement of his wife, Janet, and his Phoenix assistant coach, Rich Tocchet, in a gambling ring has made somebody else the story line as this hockey tournament opened yesterday.

Whatever, the much-maligned Vancouver Canuck, back from suspension for one of the most despicable deeds in the history of hockey, was able to be just another member of Team Canada. And he was one of the best players on the ice.

"I've always felt unbelievable on the big ice," said Bertuzzi, who had two assists and ended up plus-two in the 7-2 win over Italy.

"You get a lot more space and a lot more opportunity to be creative and do things out there. It was fun."

Coach Pat Quinn said Bertuzzi was Bertuzzi.

"You saw that, especially in the second period," he said. "And he made a real nice play to set up Jarome Iginla for the first goal."

Quinn said guys such as Bertuzzi will have to adjust to ice time. Others, he knows, have done it before. Chris Pronger figured he went down to 18 minutes from 30. It's the way it is with this team.

"If you're used to 23, you're only going to get 13," Quinn said.

"That's going to be the big challenge for a lot of our guys. They have to be able to only play 13 minutes and still be who they are. As far as I'm concerned, that's going to be the key of the tournament."

Unlike in the NHL, ice-time statistics aren't provided.

Pronger, the Edmonton Oiler who is in his third Olympics, said it's always an adjustment.

"It was a lot less. We were rolling over seven defencemen the whole game."

Pronger, who is playing on a cracked foot, said he had no problem with the injury.

"It was fine," he said.

Jet lag was a different deal.

"I didn't feel very good in the first period."


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