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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jets, Caps, Hurricanes – Byfuglien Blows Game for Jets

Yesterday I spoke about the Jets and their chances of making the playoffs this year. I also discussed their liabilities, namely Dustin Byfuglien and some members of their third and fourth lines.

On Sunday, the Capitals visited Chicago to play the Blackhawks, while the Hurricanes were on the road to play the Jets. The Blackhawks game began about 90 minutes before the Jets game and the Hawks overcame the Capitals by a score of 5-2. What great news for Jet fans who had been keeping tabs on that game with hopes that the Caps would lose. Meanwhile, the Jets had gained a 3-2 lead shortly before the end of the second period of play in Winnipeg. The third period was tense and with just under 10 minutes left Dustin Byfuglien got caught sleeping and Eric Staal broke up the ice on a breakaway and snapped a shot past Pavelec to tie the game. I don’t understand why Byfuglien doesn’t cut some weight and why assistant coach Charlie Huddy doesn’t work him and teach him how to skate faster? Huddy was not a fast skater himself early in his career but he worked at it and within two years he became one of the fastest skaters on the Oilers.

Anyway, the two teams continued to battle and can you guess who Jets coach Claude Noel had on the ice with just two minutes left in the game? Byfuglien! Even after he had been responsible for the tying goal by Staal, and despite the fact that Byfuglien is easily the biggest defensive liability on the team! As I stated in yesterday’s article on the Jets, Byfuglien had the worst plus-minus in the regular season and in the playoffs when he played with the Blackhawks during the 2009-2010 Cup-winning season. I quote:

“Dustin Byfuglien has major issues in the plus-minus department as compared to his teammates and his dedication and effort has been brought into question as well. The year he won the Cup with the Blackhawks he was one of the only two players in minus figures in the regular season and in fact he was the worst on the team at minus-7. Duncan Keith was plus-21 and had 35 more points than Byfuglien, Toews was plus-22, Sharp was plus-24, Hossa was plus-24, Kane was plus-16, Brian Campbell was plus-18 and Seabrook was plus-20. In the playoffs, Byfuglien almost matched Keith in points but he still had the worst plus-minus on the team at minus-4. You really can’t excuse his defensive problems because he has been a liability every year. Yet, to my amazement, he was rewarded with a five-year deal worth 26 million (which began this year). Nice gift!”

Well, with less than two minutes to go Eric Staal moved the puck down the center of the ice and he was checked by another player and the puck bounced towards Byfuglien and he swatted at it twice as he was slowly going backwards and he knocked it forward onto the stick of Chad LaRose. As that happened, Byfuglien continued to skate backwards and wiped himself out and fell to his knees (hard to believe he’s in the NHL), thus leaving Staal all alone in front of Pavelec. LaRose moved into an open area and fired the puck past Pavelec with just 1:22 left in the game! Pavelec gave Byfuglien a dirty look and motioned to break his stick over the crossbar. Can you blame him! Byfuglien can’t skate at the NHL level and left Pavelec at the mercy of two players. The Hurricanes hung on to get the victory and what a tremendous disappointment for Jets fans. Byfuglien was responsible for both the tying and losing goals and he was minus-3 in the game! Andrew Ladd, who also has problems defensively was minus-3 as well.

Click the link below to watch Byfuglien blow the game for the Jets and probably cost them a playoff spot this year! BRUTAL!

Note:  You can watch the two goals by clicking the video signs at the right hand side of the page (the two third period goals), rather than clicking the video in the center of the page which has the entire game highlights.

After watching please remember to click the back arrow in your browser to return to my site and the rest of this article.


The Jets loss can be directly blamed on Dustin Byfuglien and Claude Noel for having Byfuglien—a known major defensive liability—on the ice with two minutes left in the most important game of the year! The loss will likely cost the Jets their chance at the playoffs because they have seven road games left and only three home games. They desperately needed that home win and to take advantage on a loss by the Capitals. If I was Kevin Cheveldayoff (VP and GM of the Jets) I would fire Claude Noel at the end of the season and also try to trade Byfuglien this summer and get rid of his huge and undeserved salary! Get rid of Noel? Seriously, yes, because you can’t make mistakes like that at the NHL level, and also because he is not responsible for the teams improvement this year. That glory belongs to the fans in Winnipeg who have inspired a much better home record than last year (see my previous article for stats); and, the team’s improvement is also obviously due to the maturing of Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler’s first full season with the team, and the signing Kyle Wellwood because he has played very well.

Carolina Hurricanes

With the victory over the Jets the Hurricanes have leap-frogged the Lightning and the Leafs and now sit in 11th in the Eastern Conference with 73 points—just five points back of the Capitals who have 78, although the Hurricanes have played 73 games while the Caps have played 72. The Hurricanes have won three games in a row and with nine games left they really are not out of the playoffs quite yet. In fact, the Hurricanes have a very favorable schedule to finish the year with home games against the Panthers, Jets, Devils and Canadiens; and, road games against the Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Leafs, Panthers and Senators. When you look back at what happened to the Stars last year you never know.

Buffalo Sabres

Cody Hodgson is still POINTLESS after 10 games with the Sabres and he is minus-5! His swelling pride has obviously prevented him from playing his best hockey. Nevertheless, the Sabres team is still battling and they have 76 points, just two behind the Caps with both teams having played 72 games. In the Sabres final ten games they will host the Canadiens, Wild, Penguins and Leafs; and, be on the road to play the Lightning, Rangers, Capitals, Leafs, Flyers and Bruins. That is not really appetizing considering the improved play of the Leafs, the great recent play of the Penguins and the Flyers, and the Bruins who are going to turn things around to keep the Senators from overtaking them in the Northeast Division.

Capitals

Their final ten games include hosting the Jets, Wild, Sabres, Canadiens and Panthers; and, their road games will be against the Red Wings, Flyers, Bruins, Lightning and Rangers.

Jets

The Jets will now have seven road games and just three home games to finish out the season. They will be on the road against the Penguins, Capitals, Hurricanes, Predators, Lightning, Panthers and Islanders; while, their home games will be against the Lightning, Rangers and Senators.

TJ Stanley