Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: dustin byfuglien
from Gary LawLess of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Dustin Byfuglien is going to be mentioned in trade talks as the NHL draft draws closer and the talking point that will be raised again and again is his weight.
It was evident Byfuglien grew heavier this season as the games moved on and according to accredited Jets blogger Pete Tessier, the player's weight rose to 302 pounds by season's end.
If there's any truth to this number, Byfuglien is virtually untradeable. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff can't engage in trade talks with another GM and keep Byfuglien's weight off the table until the very end -- then hit his colleague with an, "oh, by the way, Buff's a little big right now."
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
The Winnipeg Jets cannot and will not move forward as a team with Byfuglien as he is currently constructed. He is a foundation piece and his half-the-time good and half-the-time bad output leaves the team with unsure footing.
The guessing and hoping has to end. It has to be now or never, where Byfuglien is concerned. He's either going to decide to be elite and do what is necessary to reach that level or he's going to continue to depreciate.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff must determine whether Byfuglien is on the verge of a breakthrough. Will Byfuglien transform into a defenceman the Jets can count on every night? Or will it be the status quo?
If it's the latter, it's time to part ways.
Trade him now while there is still value. The perfect deal likely won't be out there but not moving will haunt this franchise.
When asked Sunday what he felt about playing only 17:48 of Saturday’s win over Philadelphia, Dustin Byfuglien cracked: “I felt like I was sitting around a lot.”
read more on Byfuglien from Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
In a deft display of media relations, the Jets had both Byfuglien and Pavelec attempt to diffuse potential time bombs on the same day, and there wasn't a blow-up to be seen.
Byfuglien didn't have to say a word about his off-season conditioning — he looked ready to go, putting a serious crimp in his reputation as the weigh scale's worst enemy.
The Jets were keen to see how Pavelec carried his weight, as well.
And while a few beads of sweat were visible under the brim of his Boston Red Sox cap, the 24-year-old was convincing in his first Winnipeg public appearance since The Crash Heard 'Round the World.
Pavelec sounded genuinely remorseful over his drunk driving conviction in his native Czech Republic last summer.
"It was stupid, that's for sure," were the first words out of his mouth.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Dustin Byfuglien is taking advantage of some extra time in the great outdoors, but the Winnipeg Jets defenceman is relieved that his legal troubles are in the past, is feeling healthy and is eager to get back to work once the NHL labour impasse comes to an end.
“It was more of a pain in the ass than anything,” Byfuglien said of having a trial date set in July after being charged with driving a boat while intoxicated in August of 2011....
While his weight seems to be a frequent topic of conversation, Byfuglien isn’t concerned about the rampant speculation around the Twitter-verse that he’s packed on the pounds.
“I’m right around the same (as last year). Every year it’s always the same stuff and somebody is always going to comment on something,” said Byfuglien, who is listed at 265 pounds on the Jets’ official website. “For me, it’s my weight. I sit and smile at it. It doesn’t matter, as long as I’m able to move and go.”
from James Turner of the Winnipeg Sun,
Winnipeg Jets star defenceman Dustin Byfuglien has pleaded guilty to careless boating after reaching a deal with Minnesota prosecutors where any alcohol or drug-related intoxication-related charges he faced were thrown out.
Byfuglien entered his plea Monday morning in a Minneapolis courtroom, moments before his jury trial was set to begin.
Judge Ronald Abrams sentenced the Stanley Cup-winning player to 30 days of community service. Abrams suspended 28 of them for a period of a year, leaving Byfuglien to serve two days.
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
The boating charges against Winnipeg Jet defenceman Dustin Byfuglien will be decided by a jury.
Mitchell Robinson, the lawyer for the 27-year-old Byfuglien, met this morning with the judge and Hennepin County district attorneys in Minneapolis in a last-ditch chance to come to a resolution, but were unable to do so. As a result, the next step in the case – which stems from an incident last Aug. 31 on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota—will be to schedule it for a jury trial on July 23.
“We’ll pick a jury then and let a jury decide,” said Robinson Thursday when reached by the Free Press. “I’m not surprised. I mean, I’m always optimistic that we can settle these cases, but we’re still so far apart. The prosecutor sees this as a boating-under-the-influence case and I see it as a case of failing to have navigation lights on.
“We’re very far apart. We weren’t able to reach any kind of a fair settlement, so the next step is trial and we’ll see what a jury thinks.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Matty’s Short Shifts:
• Winnipeg Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien is the most unique player in the NHL, but nobody can convince me he’s a true NHL defenceman. True, he misses the creative Tobias Enstrom, who covers up a lot of mistakes, but Big Buf is a forward masquerading as a blue-liner. Stick him in front of an opposing net and he’s a terror. Play him on the point on the power play with his ripper (100 shots so far this season), but play him on the wing at even strength.
• If Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray is actually listening to pitches from teams on Bobby Ryan, he should take a trip down memory lane and ask former Jets GM John Paddock if he’d like a do-over on that trade of a young Teemu Selanne to the Ducks for Oleg Tverdovsky and Chad Kilger. I don’t think that one turned out too well.
much more from Matheson…
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
The head coach of the Winnipeg Jets spent a good chunk of Monday’s meeting with the media defending the play of Byfuglien, who has been subject to plenty of criticism in the early stages of the season for his limited production and routinely getting caught up ice and out of position.
“He likes playing defence and I don’t think he sees himself as a forward,” said Noel. “If you want to go down that road, that’s an area I’m not prepared to go right now. We’ll keep him playing defence. There are some things he can give us back there. Right now, I’m not entertaining the thought of moving him up front.”
Byfuglien was at the rink for Monday’s optional skate, but didn’t go on the ice and wasn’t around to speak with reporters by the time the room was opened up for interviews.
Byfuglien seems to be frustrated by his play and it’s clear he’s trying to work through it.
From the CP via CBC:
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien has pleaded not guilty to charges related to an alleged impaired boating incident.
Court documents with the Hennepin County court in Minnesota show not guilty pleas were entered to all four offences.
Police stopped a boat driven by Byfuglien on Lake Minnetonka in August.
Court documents say the 26-year-old passed a breathalyzer test but a police drug recognition expert concluded he was under the influence of drugs.
from Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien displayed a host of symptoms that led a police expert to believe he was high on drugs following his arrest in Minnesota last month.
Documents released Tuesday and obtained by the Free Press provide insight into the circumstances of the high-profile incident that led to a U.S. prosecutor endorsing four criminal charges against Byfuglien.
A police drug-recognition expert was called in to examine Byfuglien, 26, after he was spot-checked during the evening of Aug. 31 while boating on Lake Minnetonka because he didn’t have proper lights on the craft.
“Mr. Byfuglien’s speech was slurred, he was unsteady on his feet, his eyes were bloodshot and watery and he smelled of a consumed alcoholic beverage,” Deputy Ben Bierbaum of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office water patrol division wrote in an arrest report. “Mr. Byfuglien was unable to successfully perform field sobriety tests as requested.”
From the CP via CBC.ca:
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been charged with boating while intoxicated three weeks after his arrest in Minnesota.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s office released the criminal complaint on Tuesday.
Dirk Hoag at Hockey Gear HQ has more:
But you know, there is a winner in all of this…
It’s the guy who won this auction on eBay last week, for an autographed “sketch” trading card from Panini America – it’s a trading card signed by a pro athlete which includes a sketch done in their own hand, a one-of-a-kind treat that gets included in a random pack, and goes to a lucky collector. In this case, Dustin Byfuglien captured what will be the enduring image of his summer:
read on. And here’s the card:
Read the Winnipeg Free Press story from Tim Campbell and Gary Lawless and/or watch the video.
From Gary Lawless at the Winnipeg Free Press:
A police report, expected to be released in the next 48 hours will state Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien passed a breathalyzer test administered by Hennepin County Sheriff’s department police officers.
Byfuglien submitted to a breathalyzer test but refused to provide a urine sample when asked, according his lawyer Mitch Robinson.
Byfuglien was arrested on suspicion of boating while impaired and refusing a test.
Despite the clean breathalyzer, charges are still likely to be laid, as per Mike MacIntyre in yesterday’s Winnipeg Free Press.
With the regular season home opener a month away, the Winnipeg Jets continue to tweak their roster, albeit with modest changes. Yesterday the club announced they’ve signed former Leafs/Canucks/Sharks (and Blues, although he never played a game for them) centre Kyle Wellwood to a one-year, $700,000 contract. Seems like a relatively safe pick-up for the Jets – Wellwood can surprise with bursts of speed and some pretty slick stickwork.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
An NHL general manager once said of Dustin Byfuglien: “I don’t want a player with bigger (breasts) than my wife.”
read onMornlin if you want Simmon’s opinion on NHL fighting and the recent deaths…
from Mike McIntyre and Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Byfuglien, who lives in Minnesota and is an American citizen, is not currently under any type of bail restriction. But his ability to cross the border and move about Winnipeg could be severely impacted in the future.
Lucy Perillo, who operates Canada Border Crossing Services in Winnipeg—a company that works with offenders on both sides of the border to assist in travel—said it’s possible Byfuglien could be refused entry into Canada based simply on pending criminal charges such as third-degree boating while intoxicated and the refusal of a blood or urine test. He would also be obligated to disclose the fact he’d been arrested and fingerprinted.
“He’s technically not inadmissible into Canada, because he hasn’t been found guilty of anything. But they do have the right to refuse. Typically, though, Canadian officials at the Emerson border are very fair, as are those at the Winnipeg airport,” Perillo told the Free Press.
Perillo said Byfuglien’s life would become much more complicated if he was ultimately convicted.
via Darren Wolfson tweets,
Got a tip that Dustin Byfuglien was at the Hennepin County Jail last night.
BWI test refusal. Here it is.
Re: Byfuglien - told now refusal of BWI (boating) test. Also told he weighed in at 286 lbs. Holy crap! He played at about 245 lbs last year.
If you think that determining who the top goalie will be for fantasy teams this season is tough, wait until you attempt to sift through the number of defensemen who have been at or near the top of the scoring race the past couple seasons. I attempted to narrow down this list to five defensemen, but I had waaaay too difficult a time with that. Plus I’d be subjecting myself to far too much criticism from the masses! (By the way, I love the comments… keep ‘em coming.)
Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, thegoods13, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dan+boyle, defensemen, drew+doughty, duncan+keith, dustin+byfuglien, fantasy+hockey, keith+yandle, lubomir+visnovsky, mike+green, nicklas+lidstrom, shea+weber, zdeno+chara
A look around at the Southeast Division teams in action tonight:
Atlanta at Buffalo
If Rick Dudley is deciding between buyer and seller mode, this might just be the game to shove him swiftly in one direction or the other.
Atlanta has been in a tailspin in the new year, with just three regulation wins since we said farewell to 2010. Currently, the Thrashers have lost seven out of their last eight and are just 2-10-4 in their last 16.
They sit five points behind eighth place Carolina and are tied, points-wise, with tonight’s opponent, though their meeting with Buffalo becomes is that much more pivotal with the Sabres having two games in hand on Atlanta.
New faces Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart, acquired last week from Boston, will each play in their second game as a Thrasher tonight. Both made an impact in their Atlanta debut in Edmonton Sunday, despite the team’s 5-3 loss, with Wheeler assisting on an Andrew Ladd tally and Stuart scrapping with J-F Jacques in the second period.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: blake+wheeler, dan+ellis, dustin+byfuglien, dwayne+roloson, eric+brewer, mark+stuart, tomas+vokoun
via Chris Vivlamore tweet,
Thrashers have re-signed Dustin Byfuglien to multi-year contract. Details to come.
added 4:01pm, via Craig Custance tweet,
Told the Byfuglien deal is for 5-years in the $5 million per year range.
added 4:05pm, via Thrashers PR…
The Atlanta Thrashers have signed defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a multiple-year contract extension, according to General Manager Rick Dudley.
“Dustin has emerged into an elite player this season and been invaluable as a leader both on and off the ice,” said Dudley. “It was a priority to sign him and we’re looking forward to witnessing his All-Star caliber play for many years to come.”
Byfuglien, 25, leads the team and ranks fifth in the NHL among defenseman in scoring with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) this season while leading all league defenseman in goals. He has tallied six game-winning goals, one shy of the NHL record for a defenseman in a single season and tied the Thrashers single-game scoring record for a defensemen with four points (one goal, three assists) against Boston on Nov. 28. Byfuglien was named the NHL’s second star of the week (period ending Nov. 28) and the league’s third star for the month of November. For his efforts this season, he was also named an NHL All-Star.
We’ve said it several times this season – that the Southleast is no more. With 308 combined points in the standings, Tampa Bay, Washington, Carolina, Atlanta and Florida comprise the Eastern Conference’s top division by that standard. Only the Pacific Division (321 points) has had more success as a group this season in the entire league. There’s even a fighting chance that four Southeast Division clubs could make the playoffs.
Suffice it to say, anyone still knocking the hockey played down here in this corner of the continent can be officially discredited. Clearly, anyone in that category hasn’t been paying attention this season.
Beyond team accolades, when the book is closed on the 2010-11 season, the Southeast Division has a legitimate chance for representation in almost every major year-end individual award. Some have sturdier ground to stand on than others in that respect but several individuals from Southeast clubs look to at least be in the conversation for some hardware in Vegas in late June.
Since premature awards speculation has started to heat up at a few other media outlets – always fun to keep tabs on ESPN’s Trophy Tracker but no Tampa Bay love in the Adams race, really? – here’s a list of potential trophy candidates from the Southeast Division, in no particular order.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: craig+ramsay, daniel+sedin, dustin+byfuglien, eric+staal, guy+boucher, henrik+sedin, jeff+skinner, john+carlson, logan+couture, martin+st.+louis, nhl+awards, ryan+kesler, steven+stamkos, tobias+enstrom
from Nancy Macdonald of MacLeans,
The future is bound to only get brighter: there’s Raleigh and the All-Star Game most immediately, perhaps an Olympic appearance in Sochi, if the league allows players to go to Russia. “The more responsibility you give Dustin, the more he responds,” says Dudley. “So now he’s an important guy. And he feels there’s a certain responsibility involved in being a star player.” Last summer, Byfuglien brought the Stanley Cup home to Roseau, where he addressed some of those loyal parents. “When I left home, I left with a purpose,” he said in a speech at Memorial Arena. “And every time I went home, I wanted to come home with a better story.” Well, right now, there’s no one in the league with a better story than his.
We’re past the quarter pole, so maybe this is a bit late but it still seems like a good time to me to hand out some assessments to all five Southeast Division clubs. Besides, what’s this quarter pole anyway? Divide the NHL season in equal fours and the resting #StamkosMath calculator tells me that we’d have to stop things at the ten-minute mark of each team’s 21st game of the year to truly be one quarter of the way through. And that just seems troubling.
We’ll go with JJ Ratings rather than the standard report cards because one, everyone else seems to do the report card thing and two, handing out school-type grades gives me terrible nightmares. (Trust me.) Instead, each club’s JJ Rating will reflect their performance on a scale of one to ten (and, since I’ve become a big fan of complicating things, we’ll allow for partial points as well).
Here we are, anywhere from 26-29 games into the 2010-11 slate for the Southeast squads – as good a time as any (maybe just because I say so) to see where we are versus where we thought we’d be, as well as where we might be headed.
We’ll tackle this alphabetically (Ooh… Suspense!)
from John Manasso at NHL.com,
Twenty-one games into the NHL season, the marriage of Dustin Byfuglien on defense in the first season of Craig Ramsay’s tenure as coach of the Atlanta Thrashers looks like a match made in heaven.
After Byfuglien arrived during the offseason from Stanley Cup champion Chicago via trade, Atlanta elected to move the 6-foot-3, 265-pounder, fresh off a dynamic performance in the playoffs as a forward, back to defense. General manager Rick Dudley made the trade and hired Ramsay within a whirlwind 24-hour period in June.
Maybe somewhere in the hockey savant mind of Dudley, the vision of Byfuglien paired with Ramsay’s system, which encourages defensemen to join the rush, such a potent mix had first bloomed. Entering Wednesday’s games, Byfuglien ranks third among defensemen in points with 19 (only 15 shy of his total for all of last season), trailing the League co-leaders by a single point and leading all defensemen in goals with seven.
Each week hockey columnist Scott Morrison and his protegé, senior hockey writer Tim Wharnsby, exchange (mostly) friendly banter on the latest storylines in the NHL.
1. Who would you rather have on your team, Dustin Byfuglien or Nicklas Lidstrom? Both defencemen are off to terrific starts to the season that is nearing the first-quarter pole.
WHARNSBY: In the short-term, of course, I would rather have the future Hockey Hall of Famer in 40-year-old Lidstrom in the lineup. He has been rejuvenated by the Detroit Red Wings early playoff exit last spring. But if my team was not a contender and I was rebuilding a roster, the 25-year-old Byfuglien would be my guy. It’s hard to ignore his league-leading four game-winning goals, and his seven goals in 21 games is tops among defencemen.
MORRISON: How do you say no to Lidstrom? He is still going strong and may win another Norris this season. And he looks like he could play a few more seasons. He is so fit and so smart on the ice.
continue plus Morrison and Wharnsby respond to more questions…
The Thrashers should be updating his condition very soon.
added 12:37pm, Rich Dudley just said on NHL Live that the injury is a contusion and a cut. Not long term, questionable for next game.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
This is no Jekyll and Hyde. This is certainly no Sybil. This is Dustin Byfuglien, a man as simple and straightforward as his name is baffling: Try “buff-lynn” …
And yet, consider the twists: Born to a mother of Norwegian heritage and an Afro-American father, raised in the United States but came to Canada to play his sport, drafted as a defenceman, blossomed as a forward, returned to defence.
And happy as a clam.
“I kind of cracked a smile,” said the man challenging for the NHL lead in scoring by defence when he was told earlier this summer that he would be changing positions.
So improbable did such a change seem that, in some tallies, his 13 points on four goals and nine assists have been listed under leading scorers forward rather than defence, where he has been playing all fall for the surprising Atlanta Thrashers…
JJ’s Three Cheers: 11/01/10 - Plus Thoughts on Tampa’s Continued Hot Start and Stamkos Contract Talk
Perhaps you enjoyed a day of rest from NHL hockey yesterday. Or, more likely, you were angered, annoyed or even lost at some point last night, with not a shot on goal to be had anywhere. (Or maybe, even, you were like me: Incensed at an awful showing in your weekly football picks – and I mean awful – and left without the catharsis of switching to a different sport at day’s end, left only to the comfort of Dexter and his serial-killing ways… Whatever the case may be, we (or I, that is) have some catching up to do with JJ’s Three Cheers overdue from Friday and Saturday.
Now then, quickly, from Friday first:
***Cheers to Atlanta’s Dustin Byfuglien, whose transition back to defense has gone quite well in his new home. On Friday night, Byfuglien netted the O.T. winner in fantastic fashion for Atlanta, on an end-to-end rush reminiscent of legendary offensive defensemen of years gone by, to top Buffalo 4-3. (I’ll link it twice, actually, because you need to make sure you’ve seen this play.)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, claude+giroux, dustin+byfuglien, henrik+lundqvist, jay+mcclement, jeff+skinner, steven+stamkos
Dustin Byfuglien runs Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth.
It’s a mystery why the three strongest performances by Buffalo thus far have been their three road contests, where they’ve averaged over 40 shots per game, but at this stage the Sabres will take points anywhere they can get them - even if nobody is there to see it.
It was an impressive 4-1 win last night in Atlanta in front of a few family and friends at a sparsely populated Philips Arena, and the script for getting some key players going couldn’t have been written much better.
Tyler Myers netted his first goal of 2010-11, and despite an ugly first period turnover he looked much better overall. There’s just too much ability there for the turnaround not to continue. Keep in mind that even when Myers was playing at his best last season he was prone to occasionally coughing up the puck. You must have some talent if you can win a Calder Trophy after leading the NHL in giveaways.
He’s not the youngest player on the roster, nor would he be considered a shocking contributor after last season’s 21-goal, 40-point showing but Brandon Sutter is most certainly a key piece to any Carolina Hurricanes success this year and his two-goal performance in Thursday’s season-opening, 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki, Finland is an excellent early sign for a club hoping for a lot to go their way in 2010-11.
For the Hurricanes, banking on both young guns and sustained health and rejuvenation for several veterans who were hobbled last year, a player like Sutter, at 21, serving as an alternate captain and coming off of a breakthrough season a year ago, will play a major role in determining their fortune. So far, so good for Sutter, who played just six seconds less yesterday than Carolina captain Eric Staal and so far, so good for the ‘Canes, who dressed six players 25-and-under in the game and got production from Sutter (two goals), Zac Dalpe (assist) and Jamie McBain (assist), as well as sparkling reviews for 18-year-old forward Jeff Skinner from that group.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, alexander+burmistrov, andrew+ladd, anton+babchuk, ben+eager, brandon+sutter, brent+sopel, cam+ward, chad+larose, dustin+byfuglien, eric+staal, erik+cole, evander+kane, guy+boucher, jamie+mcbain, jeff+skinner, joni+pitkanen, jussi+jokinen, khl, michael+neuvirth, mike+green, nhl+premiere, niclas+bergfors, semyon+varlamov, steve+yzerman, tim+gleason, tuomo+ruutu, zac+dalpe, zach+bogosian
“That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Dustin Byfuglien as a defenseman. I would love to play against Dustin Byfuglien as a defenseman. I would turn him inside out, left, right and center every single time….”
For the Atlanta Thrashers, a team with just one playoff appearance in ten National Hockey League seasons (and not a single post-season victory to their credit), the time for a fresh start was clearly at hand.
By first turning a negative into a positive in moving on from superstar sniper Ilya Kovalchuk late last season and then raiding the cabinet of the cap-crunched Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta begins their new era, under both a new general manager and head coach in Rick Dudley and Craig Ramsay, with a wealth of promising youth and several veterans with recent championship experience.
They may no longer boast an individual showstopper but that formula wasn’t producing a consistent winner in Blueland anyway (and that alone rarely does as much anywhere). The post-Kovalchuk Thrashers appear to be headed for greener pastures, though there will be that little issue of replacing his 45+ goals, of course.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: akim+aliu, alex+burmistrov, andrew+ladd, arters+kulda, ben+eager, boris+valabik, brent+sopel, bryan+little, carl+klingberg, chris+mason, christoph+schubert, clarke+macarthur, colby+armstrong, craig+ramsay, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, freddy+meyer, fredrik+modin, fredrik+pettersson, ilya+kovalchuk, johan+hedberg, johnny+oduya, mark+popovic, martin+brodeur, marty+reasoner, matt+cooke, maxim+afinogenov, nhl+previews, niclas+bergfors, nigel+dawes, nikolai+antropov, ondrej+pavelec, patrice+cormier, paul+postma, pavel+kubina, rich+peverley, rick+dudley, ron+hainsey, southeast+division, spencer+machacek, tobias+enstrom, todd+white, zach+bogosian
from Ben Wright of Thrashers.com,
What is it about playing defense that makes you prefer it over playing up at forward?
BYFUGLIEN: It’s just coming up the ice and being able to see everything and being able to read the game. You control so much more of the game back there. It’s just something I enjoy doing.
What went through your mind when you were told about the trade?
BYFUGLIEN: Right away I was actually bummed. After coming off of winning the Cup, it wasn’t even two weeks after we won. You’re still in a celebration mode, but once I got off the phone and sat down and really thought about it I was excited. I was ready to get out of there and get ready for a new change and set new goals for myself. I’m excited and I can challenge myself for new things in life. It’s just another step.
The staff at SB Nation’s Raw Charge finishes up their Five Questions, Five Answers series today with my responses to their Southeast Division inquries.
As I touched on in closing out this interview, this division as a whole is on the upswing, making the timing of my expanded coverage even more exciting.
Enjoy the Q&A here… And, please, pay my friends at Raw Charge a well-deserved visit.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: andrej+meszaros, boris+valabik, brandon+sutter, brent+sopel, brett+clark, bryan+allen, bryan+little, cam+ward, cory+stillman, dmitry+kulikov, dominic+moore, drayson+bowman, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, freddy+meyer, jason+garrison, jeff+vinik, jiri+tlusty, johnny+oduya, keaton+ellerby, maxim+afinogenovbryan+mccabe, michael+frolik, nathan+paetsch, niklas+bergfors, patrice+cormier, pavel+kubina, randy+jones, rich+peverley, ron+hainsey, rostislav+olesz, sean+bergenheim, shawn+matthias, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, stephen+weiss, steve+reinprecht, steve+yzerman, tobias+enstrom, tomas+vokoun, zach+bogosian, zach+boychuk
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
Yes, I have studied the Hawks’ payroll enough to know that uneasy lies the NHL head that wears the crown because the salary cap soon will shrink and refit it. I have heard all the hype over the potential of the Thrashers players coming in return and the value of the first- and second-round draft picks. But I also know that the words from respected NHL voices during the Stanley Cup finals about the unique talents of the 6-foot-4, 257-pound Byfuglien still echo in my ears.
As good as Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd are, I don’t recall hearing as high of praise about them or any other supporting player. I don’t recall any playoff teams worrying about devising specific game plans to counter any Hawk more than they did for Byfuglien. Spare me the spin that Byfuglien underachieved during the regular-season — the postseason measures true value to a franchise.
Why not start dealing with somebody who didn’t have a playoff hat trick?
If Byfuglien weren’t considered such a difference-maker, why did the Sharks agree to take two marginal players from the Thrashers to help Atlanta get under the NHL’s allowable limit to consummate the trade? Sharks GM Doug Wilson wanted Byfuglien out of the Western Conference as badly as Roberto Luongo did.
from Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald,
At 6-foot-4, and 257 pounds, Dustin Byfuglien can handle almost anything.
But with the Stanley Cup on his left, his family on his right and about 2,000 Roseau hockey fans in front of him, it was too much.
“I want to thank you all for coming out,” Byfuglien said, his voice cracking.
He then put down the microphone, turned away from the audience in Memorial Arena and let the tears flow. He tried for a few moments to compose himself, then gave up and continued with tears in his eye.
“This means a lot to me,” he said. “I worked hard to bring it back to you. I hope you guys enjoy it.”
Many in the crowd also teared up during the day’s most touching moment. The others started chanting “Big Buff” at their hometown hero, who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win hockey’s biggest prize in June.
As the new season approaches, I’ll be making an effort to preview the Southeast Division in a slow and steady, comprehensive manner. To kick things off, I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s individual player statistics, updated to reflect this summer’s off-season transactions. (In other words, for example, we’ll group Dustin Byfuglien’s 2009-10 statistics with Chicago alongside his new Atlanta Thrashers teammates and their performances from last year.)
In short, we’ll look at last year’s stats with this year’s rosters, both by division as a whole and by individual teams, broken down by position… Because a look to the recent past can often be a good indicator of what’s to come. (Often… Not always. See: Cheechoo, Jonathan.) And, besides, I don’t know that you’ll find a list like this in too many places (at least I hope you won’t… Cause that would mean I spent too much time on all of this!)
To get things started, we’ll start tonight with the forwards.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alexander+ovechkin, alexander+semin, andrew+ladd, ben+eager, brandon+sutter, brooks+laich, bryan+little, chad+larose, chris+higgins, chris+thorburn, cory+stillman, david+booth, david+steckel, dominic+moore, dustin+byfuglien, eric+fehr, eric+staal, erik+cole, evander+kane, jason+chimera, jim+slater, jussi+jokinen, marc+pouliot, martin+st.+louis, marty+reasoner, matt+bradley, michael+frolik, mike+knuble, nate+thompson, nicklas+backstrom, niclas+bergfors, nikolai+antropov, patrick+dwyer, radek+dvorak, rich+peverley, rostislav+olesz, ryan+malone, sergei+samsonov, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, stephen+weiss, steve+bernier, steve+downie, steve+reinprecht, steven+stamkos, teddy+purcell, tom+kostopolous, tomas+fleischmann, tuomo+ruutu, vincent+lecavalier, zach+boychuk
Dustin Byfuglien drives Chris Pronger into the boards.
Watch the CBC feed.
First off, I am old-school and thought Dustin Byfuglien went a little too far with his goal celebration (2nd of the night) tonight. (let the video run to the end)
But what I think doesn’t matter, so what do you think?
Dustin Byfuglien with the OT goal last night.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Byfuglien has picked up where he left off in the playoffs with 4 goals in the Hawks’ first eight games. Standing in front of the net is not Byfuglien’s favorite role, but it is helping make him a star.
“It’s my job now, and I guess I don’t really have a choice to do it or I don’t know where I’d be,” Byfuglien said. “It’s all right. It’s growing on me. It’s fun and you get to play with the good players and get better opportunities to be out there more.”
Having a strong presence in front of the net is a key in Quenneville’s system, and Byfuglien has quickly become one of the better players in the NHL at bothering goaltenders.
“He found a niche there and it has helped his game,” Quenneville said. “Over the course of (last) year he was just going through it where he was just an ordinary player, but getting to that level where all of a sudden he was a factor in games and dominating games and being annoying for other teams and being a major distraction in front of the net, he filled that role extremely well.
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
“He could play linebacker for the Bears,” teammate Colin Fraser said, and he was quite serious.
At somewhere upwards of 6-foot-3, 250 or 260 pounds, “Big Buff” always has had a big body, plus some big dreams. But a goal-scoring touch was lacking. Until May 9, that is, when he scored twice to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-2 victory in Vancouver in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
“The thing about ‘Buff’ is that he’s not just a big guy,” Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “He has a heavy shot, skates well and is blessed with good hands. He’s got the potential to be a dominating power forward. One of those X-factor-type players everyone dreams of having.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
He casts a wide-bodied presence — a lunar eclipse on skates when he gets set up in front of the net — for a team that understands the best way to make Luongo look mortal is to block his view at every turn. And if a guy occasionally loses an edge and accidentally-on-purpose goes crashing into the goalie, well, that’s good for business — Blackhawks business, that is.
“I’m there, I’m there,” said Byfuglien, when asked if he’s in the heads of Vancouver players. “But it’s been good. It’s been fun. I’m just doing my job and playing the way I can.”
“He’s a big body,” ventured Bieksa, following Canucks practice yesterday at the United Center. “He’s played well for them, obviously. Last game, he played well. He gets in on the fore-check, he finishes his hit. He’s a big body in front of Louie.
“But it’s more about us worrying about ourselves right now than us worrying about them.”
Dustin Byfuglien was awarded a penalty shot on this play late in today’s Chicago/Detroit game.
Then. the fights broke out.
Canucks went on to shutout the Blackhawks 4-0.
You can checkout the boxscore at TSN for all the penalties.
From Tim Sassone in the Daily Herald,
“Power forwards are tough to find, and I think [Dustin Byfuglien] fits that position,” Savard said Wednesday. “Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think I’ve got a pretty good eye on hockey players and really strongly feel he’s going to become a good power forward in this league.
“We’re still tweaking with him. We know he can play defense, but I believe he’s going to be a strong power forward in this league. He’s had some good games on defense, too. I’m not saying we’ll never use him there again, but for now he fits up front, and we’ll evaluate everything as we go on.”
One of many complaints that casual sports fans have about hockey is that there are too many “foreigners” in our league. Which, by the way, is utter bunk because they support the NBA’s European and Asian outreach, and the Major Leagues are now making Hispanic players the norm.
But, they do have a point. The NFL, a league with 99.9999999% Americans in it, is the man in the United States right now. The NHL needs some new and talented red, white and blue blood.