NASHVILLE — Dustin Byfuglien has “no problem” with Winnipeg.
For all those worried Jets fans out there, it wasn’t the most reassuring thing the big defenseman could have said. But hey, it could’ve been worse, right?
Byfuglien, of course, is a pending unrestricted free agent. Whether he’s still a Jet next season remains to be seen. Heck, whether he’s still a Jet after the Feb. 29 trade deadline remains to be seen.
What does he want to happen?
“I just want to put on a jersey, to be honest with you,” he told reporters today. “I don’t mind Winnipeg at all. It’s close to home for me. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to be able to play by home. [There are] so many good things that I like about Winnipeg. I can do my outdoor stuff that I love to do. I have no problem being up there.”
Byfuglien grew up in Roseau, Minnesota, just south of the Manitoba border, closer to Winnipeg than Minneapolis. He’s big into hunting and fishing.
“Usually every day off I sneak out to the lake or out to the woods,” he said. “My wife lets me. She knows I enjoy that. It helps me not focus so much on hockey, give my brain a rest. Just relax, go out there, and enjoy the peace and quiet. … It’s not a big factor in everything. It’ll all be there when I retire. It just helps to calm things down.”
Despite all the attention his contract status has received in the media, the 30-year-old said it hasn’t affected him too much.
“I think my wife’s got more emotional about it than I have,” he said.
“I just told my agent, ‘Don’t talk to be me about it. When things get close, let me know and we’ll have a quick chat about it.’ He’s got a job to do. I’ve got a job to do.”