Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: dustin byfuglien
Dustin Byfuglien on his World Cup experience and Jacob Trouba.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The physical attributes -- the 31-year-old is a beast-like 6-foot-5, 260 pounds -- are one thing, but Team USA head coach John Tortorella loves the personality of the Roseau, Minnesota, native.
"He’s a bit of a renegade," Tortorella said. "I like the enthusiasm. I like the jam that he’ll bring. So there’s a variety of things that he can do for this club as we go through this tournament.
"The thing that I’ve always liked about him is that he’s different as far as personality, and I think we need that on our club."
Well, OK, Tortorella likes the shot, too.
"The thing I like about him is that he’s thinking shot, too," he said. "It’s not about overpassing, especially on the power play. He may not score but it’s probably the best pass, him shooting, how hard he shoots. Something good’s going to happen if it doesn’t go in the net. There’s going to be some rebounds. There’s going to be puck retrievals."
No penalty for Byfuglien on the Stone hit.
From the AP's Larry Lage:
Hall of Famer Chris Pronger has great-looking choppers, though they're not the ones he was born with, and Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien can pop a perfect-looking tooth in and out like he's a magician.
Despite player safety being scrutinized by the league more than ever and technological advances in equipment, hockey players are going to lose teeth. The only way to help players keep their teeth is to force them to attach full-cage masks to their helmets. And that, in the NHL at least, is not going to happen any time soon if ever.
If a player chooses to wear a mouth guard, he may help his chances of not having a concussion. His pearly whites, though, are still at risk from a puck, a stick, the ice or a check into the boards.
"I've pulled teeth out of mouth guards," Detroit Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer said. "They're not designed to keep the teeth in the mouth."
via a press release from the Winnipeg Jets,
The Winnipeg Jets today announced they have signed defenceman Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.6 million.
Byfuglien, 30, has recorded 32 points (15G, 17A) so far this season while appearing in all 52 games and sits in a tie for second amongst all NHL defencemen with his 15 goals. Byfuglien leads the Jets so far this season in shots (163), penalty minutes (78) and ice time (24:14 per game). The native of Roseau, MN, was named to the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, TN where he recorded a goal and an assist for the Central Division team. Byfuglien has been named to the All-Star Game in each of the last four seasons that the game has taken place (2011, 2012, 2015, 2016).
from Gary Lawless of TSN,
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and Byfuglien’s agent Ben Hankinson are working on reaching a contract extension which would keep the defenceman in Winnipeg for several years going forward.
Most guesses have the Jets and Hankinson discussing a five-year term with an annual average value north of $7-million. Talks have increased in regularity over the last few days and there now seems to be a sense of urgency to reach a conclusion. If a deal is going to be worked out, it could happen in the next week.
With the trade deadline set for Feb. 29, time is getting scarce. The Jets need an answer. And that answer will create a ripple effect across the NHL.
The Jets need to know where they stand. Cheveldayoff’s phone continues to ring and teams say his message right now is his focus is on signing Byfuglien and until there is clarity on that front, the future of Ladd can’t be discussed.
Byfuglien, and his decision to stay in Winnipeg or wait and go to free agency in July, is holding up a lot of people.
Cheveldayoff will be prepared for a number of scenarios....
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
If the Jets can't re-sign him, they should be able to cash in a fairly big return for Byfuglien before the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
One team I've mentioned before as a potential fit is the Los Angeles Kings. On the one hand, I wondered if the Kings could be in on the Byfuglien market without a first-round pick (they lost that pick for Andrej Sekera last season), which is normally part of the price to pay for a high-end rental.
On the other hand, the Kings could have players in their system that would interest the Jets if they ever decide to move Byfuglien. He would be such a great fit in L.A., allowing the Kings to finally replace Slava Voynov on the right side.
To me, that would be the final piece for a Kings team already among the top five contenders in the league.
more plus other topics of interest...
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The question posed to Dustin Byfuglien at Friday’s All-Star media availability was a simple one, if not obvious.
Assuming that the dollars and term are equal around the NHL, is his preference to remain in Winnipeg?
Byfuglien’s answer did not exactly sound like a ringing endorsement.
“I just want to put on a jersey, to be honest with you,” Byfuglien said. “I don’t mind Winnipeg at all. It’s close to home for me - it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to play by home. There’s so many good things that I like about Winnipeg. I can do my outdoor stuff that I love to do.
“I have no problem being up there.”
Byfuglien’s laid-back style can sometimes cloud his intended impact, and it’s dangerous to read too much into one quote. But saying “I have no problem being up there” is different than “I want to be there.”
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
According to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, NHL GM's are entering the period in which they must decide whether they're going to buy to "contend" or sell at the trade deadline, which hits on February 29th this year. That's not an easy decision to make given how tight the standings have been and will continue to remain going forward.
The focal points of trade deadline interest remain the following non-Steven Stamkos players:
Winnipeg Jets: All eyes are on captain Andrew Ladd and blueliner Dustin Byfuglien. “I don’t believe they’ll both be there after the deadline,” a league executive said Friday. The talk is the Jets tabled a six-year, $6 million deal to Ladd before the season, and that somehow the deal will get done.
Nobody is quite as optimistic about Byfuglien. He has emerged as one of the best players in the league, is a difference maker, and will cash in on the UFA market in the summer. “He’s just a hell of player,” said the executive.
St. Louis Blues: We’re not talking about a franchise with an ownership group that has deep pockets. GM Doug Armstrong has apparently put talks with centre David Backes on hold and with a $4.5 million cap hit he’s going to want a big raise if he’s going to stay with the Blues.
He could fetch a lot in return but the Blues are a contender in the West and they should be looking to add, not subtract. Teams will call but Armstrong has to tread carefully here.
New York Islanders: The sense is there won’t be any deal involving defenceman Travis Hamonic, who asked for a trade a personal reasons, until the NHL entry draft in June. A league executive said: “Garth Snow isn’t going to make this deal unless he gets good value in return.”
Teams have been calling the Isles about UFA winger Kyle Okposo, and why not? You never know where Snow is concerned, but the 27-year-old has a $2.7 million cap hit. The thinking amongst teams is he won’t be going anywhere because the Islanders are in the race and want to stay there.
Garrioch continues, addressing the Canucks, Lightning and Canadiens' situations.
from Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press,
The Winnipeg Jets are facing more than $152 million worth of future contract demands from three key players who are in expiring years of their contracts.
League and player sources have confirmed that Jets captain Andrew Ladd has asked for a six-year deal worth at least $41 million, that defenceman Dustin Byfuglien has requested $55 million over eight years and that defenceman Jacob Trouba wants more than $56 million over the maximum eight years allowed in the league’s CBA with its players.
It’s important to note that these numbers have been basically starting points from each of the player’s camps in their negotiations with the Jets. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has not commented at all on potential progress or stumbling blocks to talks.
from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,
A report that the Winnipeg Jets have offered all-star defenceman Dustin Byfuglien to the New York Islanders for defenceman Travis Hamonic really should come as no surprise to anyone.
Who wouldn’t want to trade a 30-year-old pending unrestricted free agent for a 25-year-old with a long-term, team-friendly contract?
And why in the world would the Islanders be interested in such a deal?
Unless the Jets were to significantly sweeten that deal with younger players, prospects and/or draft picks, it simply wouldn’t make sense for the Islanders. Even then, Byfuglien for two-thirds of a year might not be enough return for a player with Hamonic’s ability.
So the Islanders said no.
But you can’t ignore the fact that if the report is true, it means the Jets are certainly willing to ship Byfuglien out this season for the right price.
The report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Monday also shows the Jets would love to have Hamonic, but aren’t prepared to trade either Jacob Trouba or Tyler Myers to get him.
Check this out as Nazem Kadri gets stood up big time by Dustin Byfuglien, but the Maple Leafs forward lived to joke about it after the game.
Patrick Burke explains the decision.
added 12:52pm, before the decision came down today and after his meeting, Byfuglien met with the media, watch below...
If you missed the hit, watch it here.
added 5:15pm, Sportsnet has some different views of the hit too, watch below...
Byfuglien received 2 for elbowing.
I do not like these kind of hits at all. Your thoughts?
I retweeted a Vine of this hit from Byfuglien earlier, but the video does more justice.
FYI, Byfuglien received an extra two for charging and the Blues did score while on the PP, making the score 4-2 and that is how it ended.
added 6:36pm, Earlier in the game, Jacob Trouba made contact to the head of Troy Brouwer, no penalty on the play. Watch below..
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Speaking to local reporters for the first time since the Jets were eliminated from the playoffs by the Anaheim Ducks last April, Byfuglien expressed his desire to stick around long-term but conceded the prospect of becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer for the first time in his career was intriguing.
One thing Byfuglien isn't concerned about is his contract talks becoming a potential distraction.
“I have people to take care of that and they're talking,” said Byfuglien, who had 18 goals and 45 points in 69 games last season. “There's beautiful lakes around here. Everything is great. (Becoming a free agent) would be a change. It would be different. No, I would love to stay here and be a Jet for (the rest) of my career, but business is business and I've got to come to the rink and do my job every day.
“There are a few guys (on the Jets) who are telling me to sign, but if it was that easy, it would be done.”
At the end of the day, Byfuglien's focus is on getting out of the gate strong.
“If I get off to a better start, it's only going to help me look better,” said Byfuglien. “I just have to be myself and make sure that we're ready as a team and that we're going to go out there in the same direction we were going last year.”
Byfuglien is scheduled to be a UFA on July 1, 2016.
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
... they were swept aside in four first-round games by the Anaheim Ducks last spring, but that’s precisely how things went for the Tampa Bay Lighting in 2014, one year before the team advanced to the Cup final. The circumstances don’t perfectly align, but it’s a comparison worth making given Winnipeg’s trajectory and the increasingly wide-open nature of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With that in mind, the best plan for Winnipeg might be to sit tight and see how the first quarter of the season plays out. If things are coming together, hang on to Byfuglien and see if he can’t help you win a playoff round or two. How nice would that be for a city that hasn’t seen its team on the right side of a handshake line since 1987? Yes, you run the risk he leaves for nothing, but with 21-year-old Trouba, 25-year-old Tyler Myers and prospect Josh Morrissey in the blueline mix, the Jets are positioned to withstand that worst-case scenario.
On the flipside, if watching 20 games reveals goalies Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson aren’t up to the task or sees the return of that nasty injury bug that ripped through the Jets’ defence last year, put Byfuglien on the block and see what you can get. It won’t be as much as you would land right now, but that’s not the end of the world for a team with a sturdy prospect pipeline that’s about to spit out forwards like Nikolaj Ehlers, Nic Petan and the aforementioned Morrissey.
In other words, Winnipeg should do what Byfuglien would: take a little gamble and worry about the next move when you must.
In many ways the Jets would be better off without Byfuglien, especially if they can get a decent return. That, of course, is more easily said than done given his contract status and age (30).
If the Jets won’t — or can’t — move Byfuglien they will either have to sign him to a long-term contract or lose him outright to free agency.
Neither of those options sound very good.
-Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun on Dustin Byfuglien. Read more on this topic from Wyman.
Winnipeg Sun hockey writer Ken Wiebe and sports editor Ted Wyman delved into the issue this week and now present their arguments as to which direction the Jets should take.
Sign Buff to a long-term contract: Wiebe
Finding a way to get Dustin Byfuglien's signature on the dotted line is the best option for the Winnipeg Jets.
After bouncing back and forth between defence and forward during the past two seasons, Byfuglien moved back in December out of necessity and took his game to another level.
Though there were still some lapses, the high-risk element was more under control.
The physical component was much more consistent -- just ask the likes of Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty -- who found themselves on the receiving end of some big hits that ended up on Byfuglien's expansive highlight reel....
Trade Dustin Byfuglien: Wyman
It won’t be an easy decision to make – and it certainly won’t be popular – but the Winnipeg Jets should seriously consider trading Dustin Byfuglien this off-season.
No question, Byfuglien can be a dynamic player, a rarity who can easily shift from defence to forward and back again and a big presence who can dominate physically while making significant contributions on the scoreboard.
But he can also be a liability on the blue-line, as evidenced by Claude Noel’s decision to move him permanently to forward in 2014 and Paul Maurice’s decision to keep him there for the first 26 games of last season.
And then there’s the issue of his contract status, which complicates the matter considerably....
much more from each...
from Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press,
... That’s when it got intense. Maurice was asked directly about Byfuglien’s choice of answers today.
"Four or five? Ten," the coach said about the number of times it was essentially repeated. "Somebody counted. Are you offended?"
But what about the lack of maturity, accountability, the coach was asked?
"So you’re asking me what Dustin’s like behind closed doors based on something that pissed you off?
"I think part of (the perception) is fairly accurate, not your assessment, but he’s got an awesome sense of humour. You won’t like that. Don’t underestimate the investment the players make. Here’s where I’m losing the argument before it even starts. You’re going to find one of the 650 other NHL players would have handled that nicely and be contrite and everybody would have thought that was good. He’s a very, very competitive man and not particularly happy with the result. More than anything he wants to win badly.
"So he doesn’t like the fact that he has to speak to the media today. And I’m reading the Twitter pop-ups and, ‘the guy makes so much money he should be happy to stand in front of the media and talk to them.’ And there’s a certain dynamic between media and some players that you feel he has the absolute obligation to come out and answer for everything because of the gift and the joy that it is to play professional sports and the amount of money a man would make.
added 4:53pm, Below, watch Paul Maurice post-practice...
added 2:04pm, Watch Byfuglien make the comments below...
While duly noting that the NHL's standards for suspendable offenses and standards of officiating are two very different things...
So nine of the 26 suspensions handed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety were for violations that were not contemporaneously called as penalties. I suppose you could argue this means the review system works, but when (just over) one-third of suspensions are on infractions missed by the referees (and by the linesmen), then there’s something amiss with NHL officiating.
Dustin Byfuglien’s cross-check to J.T. Miller’s neck was impossible to miss, yet Dan O’Rourke, no more than 10 feet away from the play at which he sure seemed to be looking directly, somehow missed it. Either that, which is pretty bad, or he didn’t think the Winnipeg defenseman merited a penalty, which is a whole lot worse.
And yet, there was O’Rourke working two nights later in St. Louis as scheduled. Maybe the egregious error will cost the referee a playoff assignment, maybe there will be consequences for this one, but, again, when one-third of suspendable acts are missed on the ice while the delinquent parties simply move on, the issue needs to be addressed by the NHL in a public setting.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks comes upon a truth those of us who watch hockey and love it are very frustrated with and about:
You have to start with the supposition NHL officials are the best in the world at what they do. But something is lost in the translation of how games have been called this season. Tolerance for interference and the clutch-and-grab has reverted to the pre-Shanahan Summit days that preceded the 2004-05 canceled season.
Clearly, this is by design. It is not as if all of the league’s referees have at once independently adopted new guidelines for identifying infractions. Mandates are coming from somewhere, though there’s no logical explanation for any of this. Less space, fewer power plays, less scoring and less entertainment.
Brooks continues, and the truth of the matter is that we've become paying customers of an NHL that's undergoing the Dead Puck Era 2.0, a period of clutching, grabbing, groping, tackling, wrestling, leg-humping, stick-grabbing-and-sitting-on and all sorts of strange, football-or-rugby-on-ice stuff that used to be penalized when appropriate. Not anymore.
Topics discussed tonight include...
The play of Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators.
Next up was the Dustin Byfuglien suspension.
Then the play of Scott Gomez and his fine for elbowing.
Up next was Corey Perry and how he cares for his stick.
A few other topics were also talked about.
“Dustin Byfuglien's been great for our team this year. It wasn't a situation where he said, 'I'm going to cross check this guy in the back of the neck and see if I can get away with it.' He threw a cross check that went way too high on a guy that was on his way down and it cost us.
“So what Dustin Byfuglien owes this team is for that Calgary game to be the best game that he can possibly play.”
-Paul Maurice, head coach of the Winnipeg Jets on Dustin Byfuglien. More on this topic from Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun.
Patrick Burke with the explanation.
The NHL is full of acts of brutality, big and small, and some of them are actually pretty useful. But this was just dumb. Byfuglien is getting a phone hearing with the league Thursday, which means the only real decision for the department of player safety should be whether he gets suspended for four games or five games, since five is the maximum over the phone. It should be five. Really, it should be more.
-Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star where you can read more on this topic.
via Evan Peaslee of Sportsnet,
Late in the second period Byfuglien cross-checked Rangers forward J.T. Miller in the back of the head. The 30-year-old Byfuglien disguised it as a consequence of falling, but there’s no denying he drilled a completely defenseless player on the ice for no reason.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault certainly didn’t hide his disdain for the play when talking with the media after the game.
"(It was) violent, deliberate, could have broken his neck," said Vigneault. "I don't know what's going to happen, but it was one of the most vicious cross-checks I've seen this year."
According to Sportsnet's John Shannon the play will be given extra attention by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
via Sportsnet's YouTube channel,
The Winnipeg Jets host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night, and there is 1 player that is an absolute force on the ice, watch this video to see Dustin Byfuglien do what he does best, knock people down and score some goals.
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne has been all-world, especially of late, in leading his squad to the top of the NHL standings.
Ditto for Carey Price and his monumental impact for the Montreal Canadiens.
Chicago's Patrick Kane is often mentioned as is Ryan Getzlaf in Anaheim and Alex Ovechkin of Washington. Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, Rick Nash, Tyler Seguin, Jake Voracek, Shea Weber... all worthy of consideration.
So while we're playing this little game, let's make the case for another possible candidate as part of the discussion:
Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets.
Look, the criteria for the Hart Trophy is very clear. It is awarded annually to the "player judged most valuable to his team."
To that end, what unfolded Wednesday at the MTS Iceplex in the aftermath of the news Mathieu Perreault would likely be lost for the rest of the regular season underscores again how important the big man is to the Jets and their push to a playoff spot.
Byfuglien was back at forward during practice and may be patrolling the wing when the Jets line up against the Capitals tonight in D.C. As always, he'll play the point on the power play and be back there in four-on-four situations.
Among the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo's Sunday notes:
Looking ahead perhaps: One reason why the Tyler Myers pickup by Winnipeg could really be bright? Dustin Byfuglien, the thorn-in-the-Wild-side hybrid defenseman, is potentially a year from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
If Myers develops, he could replace Big Buff if he departs. If that happens, he’s exactly the type of player the Wild needs. Rumor has it he’s from Minnesota, too.
Kessel moving? The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost 21 of 25 games with Phil Kessel scoring four times in those games. He has since been demoted to the fourth line.
“I go where they want me. I love Toronto, but [if] it’s not here, it’s not here,” Kessel said.
Don’t be surprised if the Florida Panthers try to trade for the high-priced Kessel. He has a place in Palm Beach, the Panthers might have the assets to give up, and Kessel, not exactly fond of the spotlight, would be able to get out from under the microscope.
The Winnipeg Free Press's Gary Lawless has been on top of the Evander Kane saga since its outset, and this morning, Lawless suggests that the Winnipeg Jets' season sits at a crossroads (if not on a long Manitoba train track) thanks to the actions of not only Dustin Byfuglien, but also the Jets' captain, Andrew Ladd, its coach, Paul Maurice, and to some extent, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff:
Let’s review: Kane shows up for a team meeting in sweats. Byfuglien determines this isn’t good enough and tosses his teammates gear into a shower or a cold tub. Kane’s belongings are soaked and his pride and very likely his heart are damaged. He’s been humiliated by one of his big brothers. By one of the men he’s lived and worked with going on six years. Maybe there was a time when this manner of sending a message was accepted and worked, but no longer. It just made a mess.
Ladd is the captain of this room and anything that happens behind those closed doors is his responsibility. He needs to have his finger on the pulse of things. If he stood by and let Byfuglien commit this act — it’s on him. If he missed and then couldn’t or wouldn’t solve the issue before it blew up as it has — again it’s on him.
Same goes for Maurice. This coach likes to say he lets the players run the room. Fine. But at some point in time Tuesday when this was playing out, Maurice had to determine his influence was needed. He’s lost a player. A skilled and productive forward on a team that just can’t afford to move on without a suitable replacement.
If Kane is indeed done with the Jets and Cheveldayoff can’t put together a deal to replace him, it’s hard to imagine this ending well for Winnipeg.
Lawless continues, and he does an excellent job of reminding us that whatever happened, a young man got treated like a child thanks to teammates who were equally "in the wrong" by going "old-school" on him, and the coach and GM are also culpable here...
And this is a situation that has less to do with a troubled player being an *#$%@& than it has to do with a troubled player's behavior yielding, well, organizationally-approved, coach-approved, captain-approved and teammate-approved assholery.
Dustin Byfuglien with hits on Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar in the first minute of play last night.
Byfuglien did receive a hooking penatly for the Kopitar hit.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Winnipeg remains in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Western Conference despite major injury issues. They’re missing four regular defensemen in Jacob Trouba, Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, and Mark Stuart. None is expected back soon. The Jets are also without Evander Kane, their dynamic left wing, until next month because of a lower-body injury.
They’d be in a whole lot of trouble had Dustin Byfuglien not been working his stuff at both ends of the rink this season. In this way, Byfuglien will deserve Hart Trophy consideration if the Jets qualify for the postseason for the first time since arriving in Winnipeg.
Byfuglien is type of hard-to-find hybrid (San Jose’s Brent Burns being another) that teams will continue to chase because of their value and versatility. In one unique, XXL package, Byfuglien is a body-smashing power forward and a smooth-moving defenseman who can play in all situations while occupying just one roster spot.
Byfuglien started the season up front because of Winnipeg’s depth on defense. The Jets’ best lineup had Byfuglien and Kane flanking young pivot Mark Scheifele, giving the line skill, speed, and power. When the Jets went on the power play, Byfuglien moved back to the point to maximize his vision and puck-pounding slap shot.
more plus other hockey topics...
Philadelphia head coach Craig Berube must’ve said something to Dustin Byfuglien after the Flyers beat the Jets in OT, prompting the big Jets defenceman to get up in his face.
Not one, but two Avalanche players feel the hits from Byfuglien.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
It certainly didn’t take Dustin Byfuglien long to work his way back into the top-six forward mix.
After Evander Kane suffered a knee injury early in the first period of Thursday’s 6-2 triumph over the Phoenix Coyotes, there was Byfuglien taking the majority of minutes alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
It’s a trio that was used a bit last season after Jets head coach Paul Maurice took over and figures to present some interesting challenges, should the unit stay together because Kane is on the shelf for a substantial amount of time with the injury.
“Any time you’re on the ice with those two, it’s a pretty simple game,” said Byfuglien. “You just go to the net and those two will do the rest.”
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
I asked Byfuglien a simple question about his expectations for the season.
"Um, be back on defence anytime, right away," quipped Byfuglien, before getting serious again. "No, just have a good start and do what I do and bring to the table what I usually do. Provide a little bit of everything. Focus on defence first and the offence will come."
Just how productive Byfuglien can be during a full season in the hybrid role of playing forward at five-on-five and defence on the power play and in other situations like four-on-four on occasion is anyone's guess.
But Byfuglien's blend of size, skill and strength obviously has Maurice believing it can lead to some impressive things.
"There's really nothing this man can't do on the ice," said Maurice. "He's a Top-six forward and he can play defence, if you need him to. He's big, he's strong, he's exceedingly smart -- in terms of his reads on the ice."
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
As the Winnipeg Jets’ season wound down, a controversy involving one of their players flared up. Interim coach Paul Maurice made star winger Evander Kane a healthy scratch for a game in Toronto – and just like that, harsh words were hauled out to criticize the 22-year-old: he had an attitude; he was arrogant; he wasn’t a good fit with the Jets; he needed to be traded post-haste. If it sounded familiar, that’s because it was. Ever since the franchise relocated to Manitoba from Atlanta, Kane has been a target for critics.
Some of that, he’s earned. When he posed during the 2012-13 lockout in front of the lights of Las Vegas pretending a giant stack of money was his cell phone, fans and media rightfully ripped him for not understanding how it would be perceived.
But put aside the specifics of that situation for a second and answer these questions: Were you ever 21? Did you ever make a mistake at that age? Do you think that, if you were making millions of dollars and existed in a massive public fishbowl at that age, you might make the odd error in judgment?
The answer should be “yes.” That’s why there’s something about the relentless negativity surrounding Kane that doesn’t sit right. I’m not pointing to anyone specific when I say this, but I have to say it: some of the criticism hurled at Kane – as well as teammate Dustin Byfuglien and Canadiens star P.K. Subban – is about his race more than his character. It’s what Kane referred to last year when he told THN’s Ken Campbell “a good portion” of the criticism is racially motivated.
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson penned a particularly prolific set of Hockey World columns and blog entries (so much so that I'm stealing one for my Malik Report blog), and we're going to start sifting through four separate columns/entries' worth of observations and nuggets of wisdom with a question that many have pondered but few have tried to analyze:
Is there any logical way in which the Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin can engage in a civilized "divorce" (and/or removal of that heavy captain's "C"), or is the team, "Married to Alex Ovechkin for life?"--to the detriment of an increasingly rotating cast of coaches, goaltenders and complementary players?
Since the Gretzky trade/sell to the LA Kings in 1988, we all know anybody can get dealt, although that’s Leonsis’s call, and the question is how many people would give up their tickets to games if Ovie wasn’t there. There’s 100s of people in Caps’ No. 8 jerseys at games in Washington. But, winning often trumps player loyalty and in the time Ovechkin has been with the Caps, they have won three playoff rounds in, this, his 10th year.
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, chris+pronger, derek+roy, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, mike+green, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, teemu+selanne, vladimir+konstantinov, washington+capitals, winnipeg+jets
The St. Louis Blues defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Monday night, and at the end of the game, Dustin Byfuglien and Ryan Reaves made friends:
Let's just say that the referees managed the situation poorly, though Ryan Miller kept his composure quite well, because the refs and linesmen never managed to separate the players, from the start of the scrum until the players left the ice.
Per ESPN's recap, here's the penalty tally:
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch discusses the players who've become the stars of the pre-trade deadline rumor mill in a trade-rumor-packed Sunday column, and he insists that at least some GM's will filling their shopping lists sooner than later:
With the Olympic roster freeze set to go into effect Feb. 7 at 11:59 p.m., several league executives believe there may be a flurry of activity. “A lot of teams are nervous,” a league executive told Insider Trading. “I really think there are some teams that are in playoff races that want to make changes. You have to think there’s going to be some trades before players going to the Olympics because teams aren’t going to want to wait until March 5 to position themselves.” A lot of the teams at the top of the standings — Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and San Jose — want to be active, but thus far the movement has been limited. “There’s lots of talk,” said the executive.
He also suggests that the Winnipeg Jets' recent surge won't stop the team from moving "name" players:
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Dustin Byfuglien stands in the way of progress. He either needs to begin moving in the right direction or be removed from the path.
The one-time all-star defenceman must either commit to excellence or be traded. The current approach is unacceptable.
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.
Oops, sorry, this story is from 4/27/13, my fault for not checking the date.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
I barely caught this with the naked eye at the end of the game, when the Jets won with 1.7 seconds left in overtime on Blake Wheeler’s goal. Technology allows us to see just what a little cheap shot it was by Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien right after the goal went in. This probably won’t result in any suspension, but rest assured the Avs won’t forget it the next time the teams play.
He’s not easy to put a body on, but the Avs need to lay Byfuglien on his butt the next time they play for this. Semyon Varlamov almost did, with a full stick swing his direction.
How was that not goalie interference on Byfuglien, that first shove in the crease? I don’t think Patrick Roy had seen this when he did his post-game presser, otherwise we probably would have heard a lot about it.
continue for more on the Avs OT loss to the Jets including P.A. Parenteau having an MRI on his injured knee...
via Sportsnet, watch the game highlights below including the Parenteau injury and the Byfuglien incident...
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."