The Winnipeg Jets may be without defenceman Dustin Byfuglien for key games in their drive for the playoffs.
Byfuglien is facing a suspension of up to five games after delivering a vicious cross-check to the back of New York Rangers centre J.T. Miller on Tuesday night.
The play occurred late in the second period of Winnipeg’s 3-2 loss to New York. Miller had fallen to the ice near the crease after taking a swipe at a rebound off the pads of Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. The 260-pound Byfuglien looked down at the prone Miller and drove his stick in to the back of the Rangers forward’s head, also falling to his knees.
Judge Ronald Abrams gave Byfuglien 30 days of community service, but suspended all but two of them for a year.
Byfuglien apparently did not talk to media after leaving the courtroom, except to say “Yeah” when asked if he was glad the ordeal was over.
Byfuglien was charged last year with dangerous operation of a motorboat, boating while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a police blood or urine test. He was charged after police stopped him on Lake Minnetonka on August 31, 2011.
Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff released the following statement after the ruling: “After allowing the legal process to play out, we are thankful to see this matter resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved. As an organization, the Winnipeg Jets are happy this is behind Dustin and he can look forward to the upcoming hockey season, along with the rest of the team and their passionate fan base.”
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien has earned a spot in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.
The game — set for Sunday, January 29 at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place — will be Byfuglien’s second straight appearance in the All-Star line-up. The 26-year-old leads all Jets defencemen with 24 points (6g, 18a) in 35 games played this season. Byfuglien also led the team with 149,405 fan votes, helping him secure his position on the elite roster.
The Jets will meet the San Jose Sharks tonight at MTS Centre in their first home game since December 31. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. (TSN Jets, TSN Radio 1290). Watch for reporter Darrin Bauming’s post-game report on ChrisD.ca later tonight.
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien faced the media for the first time Friday since his recent arrest south of the border.
The 6’5″ Minnesota native made an appearance at MTS Centre following the team’s morning medical and physical tests.
Abiding by the advice of his lawyer, Byfuglien couldn’t say much regarding his time driving a boat on Lake Minnetonka while allegedly intoxicated. However, he did say he didn’t have any issues crossing the Canadian border.
Asked if his reputation will need any repair in the eye of public opinion, Byfuglien said, “I’m here to be myself. Once you get to know me, I’m just myself. I’m a good guy … you guys will enjoy this season.”
Another issue Byfuglien wouldn’t address? His weight. The blue-liner has previously been criticized for it, but says he has no problem with his current stature.
“You guys keep throwing numbers out there and having fun with it.”
When asked if he could provide a number, Byfuglien jokingly said, “No, just put whatever you want.”
“I’m just here to play hockey,” the 26-year-old added.
The Jets open up training camp on Saturday at MTS Iceplex.