Dustin Byfuglien was often an interesting combination of talents who never seemed to consistently equal the sum of all of his parts until he exploded onto the playoff scene this year. Once he heated up by making life miserable as a gigantic, goalie-eclipsing answer to Tomas Holmstrom, it was clear that Big Buff could handle the shoves and whacks that come with those battles in the crease.
But handling the emotional impact of sharing his Stanley Cup victory with 2,000 fans (and friends) from his hometown? That proved to be a bit too much for “Buffy the Hamburger Slayer.” Here’s the story from the Grand Forks Herald.
“I want to thank you all for coming out,” Byfuglien said, his voice cracking.
He then put down the microphone, turned away from the audience in Memorial Arena and let the tears flow. He tried for a few moments to compose himself, then gave up and continued with tears in his eye.
“This means a lot to me,” he said. “I worked hard to bring it back to you. I hope you guys enjoy it.”
Many in the crowd also teared up during the day’s most touching moment. The others started chanting “Big Buff” at their hometown hero, who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win hockey’s biggest prize in June.
For some reason, stories of seemingly macho players getting “verklempt” never really gets old.
According to the story, Byfuglien was supposed to stay to sign autographs until 5 p.m. that day but instead remained an extra hour so everyone could get a photo with the Cup. It was the first time it made its way to Roseau County, as the only other resident to win it was Neal Broten in 1995, who chose to celebrate at his Wisconsin farm instead.
Byfuglien’s days with the Chicago Blackhawks might become a faded memory, but his victory won’t be forgotten among his hometown friends and family anytime soon.
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)
As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.
Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.
Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.
That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.
Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.
It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.
To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.
Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.
In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.
And then Stamkos took the warmup.
As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.
“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”
No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.
EDINA, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has been rehabilitating his back injury without surgery, putting him on track to be at full strength by September.
Parise said Thursday he’s “happy with the way everything’s going.” He said he’s been able to work out as he normally does during the summer, despite missing the playoffs because of the injury.
Parise said there’s “no question” he’ll be ready to play for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey tournament.
Parise joined teammates Erik Haula, Jason Pominville, Nate Prosser, Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker at an autograph signing to raise money for people affected by the wildfires in Alberta. The parents of Spurgeon’s wife, Danielle, lost their home to a fire in the Edmonton area.