COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 16: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 16, 2013 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Jets plan to leave Byfuglien at forward for now


Mere days before he was fired, Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel decided to move Dustin Byfuglien from the blueline to the right wing in an effort to break the team out of its slump.

It was a bold move, even if Byfuglien previously served as a winger with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since then Paul Maurice has taken over as the Jets’ new bench boss, but he’s decided to keep Noel’s experiment going.

“Can you imagine having a guy that’s that big, that can move like that and with hands like that, with some of his creative instincts,” Maurice told the Winnipeg Sun. “I’m going to leave him there until I see something that I need to change.

“That may be next week, it may be next month, it may be never. I’m not making a decision until I need to.”

Byfuglien is out of practice in his new role and consequently doesn’t feel comfortable in it, but he sees it as a fun challenge. Winnipeg will play against Calgary on Thursday.


Jets GM could ‘maybe move some pieces’

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.