Jets head coach Paul Maurice addressed the media Friday, one day after the NHL levied a four-game suspension against Dustin Byfuglien for his nasty cross-check on Rangers forward J.T. Miller.
Maurice, it seems, took issue with two things. One, what he perceived as inconsistency between the Byfuglien ruling and other cross-check suspensions and two, how Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault portrayed Big Buff in the aftermath.
“Vigneault wanted the electric chair, and I’ve got a lot more time for Dustin than that,” Maurice said, per the Winnipeg Sun. “So we will always be a little agitated by what we feel is the unfairness of it.
“From my point of view, though, you can hand out heavier suspensions on all these events. The players will make the adjustment.”
Maurice mentioned a few incidents from this season for comparison purposes, including the cross-check Dallas’ Antoine Roussel landed on Boston’s Adam McQuaid in early February, which resulted in a two-game suspension for Roussel:
As for the Vigneault quote, Maurice appeared to be referring to what the New York bench boss said immediately following Tuesday’s tilt.
“[It was] violent, deliberate, could have broken his neck,” said Vigneault. “It was one of the most vicious cross-checks I’ve seen this year.”
The league announced that Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been suspended for four of the Jets’ remaining five games for his “dangerous” crosscheck in the back of the neck to a “defenseless” J.T. Miller. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called the actions against Miller “violent” and “deliberate,” but the Jets don’t feel Byfuglien is that type of player.
“He’s not a guy that is a dirty player, so he definitely didn’t mean to do that,” Mark Stuart told TSN. “He’s not out there to injure guys.”
Jets captain Andrew Ladd has reviewed the video of the incident and realizes it doesn’t look good, but he feels you lose context when watching what happened in slow motion.
“I think it’s easy to slow it down after the fact,” Ladd said.
“In the course of a game, things happen quick. I know he didn’t mean to get him in the neck. He was probably trying to get him in the back and hit the wrong spot.”
Winnipeg has just a two point edge over Los Angeles in the battle for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and the Kings have played in one less game. Los Angeles also has the edge in ROW, so the tie would go to the Kings.
Byfuglien is a critical player for the Jets, averaging 22:39 minutes per game. He has 18 goals, 45 points, and 122 penalty minutes in 68 contests.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been suspended four games for crosschecking New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller on Tuesday in Winnipeg.
In making the ruling, the NHL deemed that Byfuglien delivered a “dangerous” crosscheck with “excessive force” to a “prone” and “defenseless” Miller, who was fortunately not injured on the play.
The Jets have five games left in the regular season. Byfuglien will be eligible to return for their final game, on Apr. 11 versus Calgary.
We’ve touched on the Jets’ undisciplined play before. As you can see here, it’s really cost them in the goals department this season. And while Dustin Byfuglien didn’t get a penalty for crosschecking J.T. Miller, he’s going to get suspended.
Add it all up and Winnipeg may once again miss the playoffs:
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
So much for Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton’s injury being undisclosed. CSNNE.com notes that his apparent Boston Celtics buddy Kelly Olynyk (pictured) blurted out Hamilton’s injury while discussing his own black eye (also pictured). (CSNNE.com)
Aside: while the resemblance isn’t Tim Lincecum-spooky, does Olynyk remind anyone else a bit of the kid from “Dazed and Confused”? No, OK moving on …
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Is Andrew Hammond for real or just a flash in the pan? (The Hockey News)
Apparently the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to restrict playoff ticket sales to Florida residents. (Sportsnet)
Suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov apparently went under the knife while his career’s in limbo. (NHL.com)
A scathing take on Dustin Byfuglien’s cross-check. (The Toronto Star)