The Winnipeg Jets (then Atlanta Thrashers) made a bold and mostly successful decision to move Dustin Byfuglien back to the blueline after significant success as a forward with the Chicago Blackhawks. Now that transformation is really coming through, as he’s assuming one of the toughest roles: killing penalties.
In his first years with Winnipeg, Byfuglien’s been on the ice in shorthanded situations for just about 30 seconds of his 24+ minutes per night.* So far in 2013-14, the 28-year-old defenseman is devoting 2:28 PK minutes per night of his 24:14 total ice time.
He spoke positively with the Winnipeg Sun about the adjustment.
“It’s been good so far, it’s a little different,” Byfuglien said. “But I can read the game fairly well, I know what the offense is thinking and what they’re trying to do.”
As a team, the Jets have some room for improvement in the shorthanded area; they’ve allowed six power-play goals in five games and rookie Jacob Trouba leads defensemen in PK time with almost four and a half minutes of shorthanded time per game.
Still, Byfuglien deserves credit for being willing to expand his horizons (no fat jokes, please) and it’s plausible that the Jets’ PK unit might improve with him.
* – Here are the exact numbers from NHL.com:
2012-13: 30 seconds per game of 24:24 total TOI
2011-12: 25 seconds of 24:06
2010-11: 5 seconds of 23:18
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.