Thornton not embarrassed by Lucic's fight

In last night’s Toronto and Boston game, a couple of heavy hitters took part is what I considered a fairly spirited fight. The Bruins’ Milan Lucic and the Leafs’ Colton Orr squared off, in about as equal a fight as you could hope for, size-wise.

The fight was a lengthy and if you would choose a winner, it would obviously be Orr. He landed a number of big shots, but Lucic stayed with it for a long time. He took some hard shots early but fought back; there was nothing about the fight that screamed ‘turtle!’ or anything like that, just the fact that Orr is clearly a better fighter.

On the very next faceoff, the Bruins’ big fighter took on Wayne Primeau. It’s just the nature of the game, it was exciting at that. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with anything that happened between the two fights.

Well, Don Cherry did.

“Thornton was embarrassed by this fight
coming up.
He was embarrassed. If you
don’t want to fight then don’t fight, but you can’t quit,” said Cherry.
“And that’s exactly what [Lucic] did. That’s the trouble with the
Bruins. You don’t hit. You don’t win fights. If you’re gonna get in a
fight then you go.

“Lucic is a good hockey
player, but if you’re
going to fight – you don’t quit. Look at him he’s looking at the
linesman to come on in. You don’t tell him to come on in [and break up
the fight]. You go out on your shield. If you’re going to get in a fight
and then you hide behind a linesman. That’s a disgrace if you’re the
Boston Bruins as far as I’m concerned.”

Well,
that’s certainly his opinion. If you watch the fight you can certainly
see Lucic back off a bit towards the end as if signaling the fight was
over. But this wasn’t an example of him taking a few shots and then
backing off; it was a lengthy fight and both he and Orr got some good
shots in before the linesmen stepped in.

Of course, Thornton
doesn’t feel it was a bad fight and he’s certainly not embarrassed.

“I thought it was necessary after their tough guy went
with Looch.” said Thornton. “I figured I’d answer the bell. It was a
good fight. I don’t know if it was necessary or not, but I just wanted
to show that we wouldn’t be pushed around.

“[Lucic/Orr]
was a
good fight. If they wanted to stop it they would have. They were still
swinging and there wasn’t any real damage being done. It was a good
fight. Punched each other in the head a couple of times and when they
came apart I think the refs did a good job of getting in there.”

Scroll Down For:

    Eaves to stick with Benn, Seguin on Dallas’ top line

    Patrick Eaves, Jonas Hiller
    Getty Images
    Leave a comment

    Patrick Eaves‘ cameo alongside the dynamic duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin looks like it’ll continue at least one more game.

    Eaves, who along with Benn assisted on Seguin’s goal in Saturday’s loss to Chicago, practiced on Dallas’ top line today and should be there tomorrow when the Stars take on the Wild.

    “Seguin, Benn and Eaves were in on 11 chances [Saturday against Chicago],” head coach Lindy Ruff explained, per the Stars’ website. They could have three or four [goals]. They should have had three or four. We missed too many good opportunities.”

    This latest development is a positive in what’s been a tough year for Eaves. He was hurt early in the season after an awkward fall against the Oilers — a game in which he opened on the club’s top line, next to Benn and Seguin.

    All told, he has just three goals and six points in 33 games.

    Last year, Eaves was plagued with concussion issues but still managed to produce well, scoring 14 goals and 27 points in just 47 games.

    After re-upping in Winnipeg, Byfuglien says leaving ‘never really crossed my mind’

    Winnipeg Jets v Anaheim Ducks - Game Two
    Leave a comment

    There was some speculation Dustin Byfuglien would be out of Winnipeg by the Feb. 29 trade deadline or, failing that, when free agency hit on July 1.

    But according to him, leaving was never really an option.

    “I’ve been here five years and from where we’ve started and where we’re at now, I don’t feel as an organization or a group that we’re far off,” Byfuglien told TSN 1290 on Monday, after inking a big five-year, $38 million extension with the Jets. “My family and I have found Winnipeg nice, and we’re very happy to stay here.

    “It never really crossed my mind of going anywhere, and I’m excited to be a Jet.”

    Prior to this extension, though, some thought leaving had definitely crossed Byfuglien’s mind.

    Back in mid-December, the Free Press reported his initial ask was a whopping eight-year, $55 million deal. Some viewed that as his first potential step out the door.

    It would’ve been big money and a lot of term for the Jets to commit, especially given 1) Byfuglien is 30, 2) the team still hasn’t signed captain Andrew Ladd, and 3) the club has some prized youngsters that need new deals this summer, specifically Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba. (In that same Free Press report, Trouba’s ask was $56 million over eight years.)

    Then, there was Byfuglien at All-Star weekend.

    When asked about his future — sign, trade or head to free agency? — Byfuglien said he had “no problem” with Winnipeg, adding “I just want to put on a jersey, to be honest with you.”

    Some, like TSN’s Frank Seravalli, who was in attendance for the Byfuglien media scrum, noted the response “did not exactly sound like a ringing endorsement.”

    Of course, Byfuglien later clarified his remarks following the All-Star Game.

    “Yeah, I’d love to,” he told reporters when asked about re-signing in Winnipeg. “I’ve met a lot of good people and now some really good friends. I’ve been here for a long time. You never want to leave home. I’ve been here long enough; my family has been here and I’ve had two kids here.

    “It’s somewhere you don’t want to leave.”

    And now — well, for the next five years anyway — Byfuglien won’t have to.

    Video: Jets’ Stafford suspended one game for ‘forceful, reckless’ high-stick

    stafford
    2 Comments

    The NHL has dinged Winnipeg forward Drew Stafford one game for his ugly high stick on Colorado’s Nick Holden over the weekend.

    “While we accept Stafford’s assertion that he did not intentionally strike Holden in the face, he is responsible for the consequences of swinging his stick in such a forceful and reckless fashion,” the Department of Player Safety explained.

    Stafford, who wasn’t penalized on the play, will now miss Winnipeg’s next game — tonight, in St. Louis — and will be eligible to return on Thursday when the Jets host the Bruins.

    Stafford will also forfeit $23,387.10 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

    Big Buff, Big Bucks: Jets ink Byfuglien to five-year, $38 million extension

    Dustin Byfuglien
    Getty Images
    12 Comments

    One of the most prized trade deadline targets is no longer.

    On Monday, Winnipeg locked in pending UFA d-man Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year, $38 million extension, one that carries a $7.6M cap hit and makes him the highest-paid player on the team.

    Byfuglien, 30, was in the last of a five-year, $26 million deal with a $5.2M average annual cap hit. One of the league’s most unique players — a 6-foot-5, 265 pounder that’s played forward and defense, and participated in this year’s fastest skater All-Star skills competition — his bio from the Jets’ release pretty much sums up how much he means to the club:

    [Byfuglien] 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).

    The deal keeps Byfuglien in Winnipeg through 2022 and is the latest long-term deal on the blueline: Tobias Enstrom is at $5.75M per through 2018, and Tyler Myers is at $5.5M per through ’19. Byfuglien’s deal also comes after some questioned how badly he wanted to stay in Winnipeg — at All-Star weekend, he raised eyebrows by responding “I just want to put on a jersey, to be honest with you,” when asked about his playing future.

    The five-year term is also down from Byfuglien’s reported original ask, which was $55 million over eight years.

    With this move done, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff can now turn his attention to another prized pending UFA: Andrew Ladd, the club’s captain and another player that’s believed to have high interest around the league as a trade deadline rental.