In case you missed it this past weekend, NHL insiders Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston, both of Sportsnet, blew the Dustin Byfuglien story WIIIIIIIDE open with a shocking update on some behind the scenes developments.
First, we all know that Byfuglien had been suspended by the Winnipeg for failing to report to training camp. It was reported that Byfuglilen wasn’t sure if he wanted to play and was taking his time in making a decision.
Then, TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported that Byfuglien had undergone ankle surgery without the team’s consent. This is where things get interesting…
Here’s how things lie right now, according to Friedman.
The team feels that Byfuglien was deemed fit to play and did not disclose his ankle injuries. At the beginning of this current season, Byfuglien tried to skate prior to training camp, but was unable to due to injury. In effect, Big Buff is sticking to his guns and the team is trying to call his bluff. Laying in the balance are millions and millions of dollars.
Check it out:
Now, in his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, Friedman reports that a “divide” in the Jets’ dressing room (That’s a locker room for you American readers) could have also been a factor in this entire situation.
Check it out:
Another said not to dismiss the divides that occurred in the Jets’ dressing room last season, and how Byfuglien felt about all that. He believes those took a toll on the big defenceman, too. The organization has worked hard to address those concerns, from giving Patrik Laine much more responsibility, to captain Blake Wheeler promising a change in his leadership, to head coach Paul Maurice pushing a positive environment.
Suffice it to say, it sounds like the marriage between Big Buff and the Jets is off. Should an arbitrator need to get involved, can Byfuglien actually feel good about himself playing for the Jets? Would the Jets even want that kind of bad omen surrounding the team?
The Jets have had an inconsistent start to the season and they’ve lost some big pieces (Especially on defence), but let’s not forget that this team was a legitimate Stanley Cup contender the past two seasons. They’d be smart to nip this issue in the bud ASAP and put their focus back where it needs to be: On the ice.