When the Winnipeg Jets take to the ice tonight at PPG Paints Arena to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, they’ll do so with a defense corps that features:
Carl Dahlstrom - Sami Niku
Ville Heinola - Neal Ponik
Antony Bitetto - Tucker Poolman
Yikes… that… that doesn’t look like an NHL defence.
Of course, the Jets are without star blue liner Dustin Byfuglien as the big man contemplates his playing future. Byfuglien failed to report to the Jets’ training camp and has officially been suspended by the team while he determines whether or not he’s fit enough mentally and physically to re-join the team.
In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman offers up an update on the Byfuglien situation in Winnipeg via Byfuglien’s agent Ben Hankinson.
Check it out:
Ben Hankinson, who represents Dustin Byfuglien, warns “not to jump to any conclusions” about the defence man’s future. I’ve heard the Jets have to work to convince Byfuglien to return, but Hankinson said this is going to take some time before we know one way or the other. Winnipeg is clearly hoping he gets bitten by the hockey bug and decides to return. The health of his ankle likely determines all of this.
Interesting. Particularly the part about the Jets having to “work to convince Byfuglien to return.” You’d think that Byfuglien’s $7.6 million annual contract would provide him with enough incentive to return, but apparently it’s on the Jets to convince the veteran to make good on his contract. Turbulent times in Winnipeg, to say the least.