You expect players to say all the right things when they sign with a new team so there was no surprise in Todd Bertuzzi thanking the Flames for giving him another shot or expressing excitement about coming to Calgary.
But Bertuzzi wanted to make it perfectly clear that the biggest reason he will suit up for the Flames next season is their captain, Jarome Iginla.
"Jarome is 100 percent why I'm a Calgary Flame," Bertuzzi said a few hours after agreeing to a one-year, $1.95 million deal. "I had great talks with him and everything he said about the organization and the city was nothing but positive. Having talked to my family, we decided it was a good opportunity for us and we couldn't pass it by."
Iginla was equally enthusiastic about Bertuzzi according to GM Darryl Sutter. In fact, the captain was the driving force in convincing the team to sign him, Sutter said.
"Jarome was a strong supporter of Todd and wanted him on our team," Sutter said. "The one player he identified more than anyone else was Bertuzzi."
The players were teammates at Salt Lake on Canada's 2006 Olympic team, and that factored into Calgary targeting Bertuzzi last summer during free agency, although the Flames were not willing to match the $8 million over two seasons that Anaheim eventually gave him. That turned out to be a break because Bertuzzi suffered a concussion early in the season and played in less than 70 games. He scored only 14 goals, nowhere near the expectations of the Ducks, who bought out the second year of his deal in late June.
"Coming in there I thought I was going to get an opportunity to play with (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry, and I only played a handful of games with them," Bertuzzi said. "With all their cap issues, I think the writing was on the wall at the end."
Now though, Bertuzzi gets a chance to rebound on a team where the top player is his No. 1 booster.
"He's very fired up," Iginla said. "If you look over the years, Darryl has found a lot of guys who aren't appreciated on other teams and have come in here and been impact players. He can help our team."