When Dustin Byfuglien is at his best (and scariest), he physically dominates in ways that make you think of:
- A man among boys.
- A bowling bowl clobbering pins.
- A hot knife through butter.
- The windshield that bugs are flying off as a car barrels down a highway.
(OK, that last one might just be me, but still.)
Sunday presented some examples of Byfuglien’s frightening prowess.
Early on in a game that the Winnipeg Jets are currently running away with, Byfuglien shed New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman in a domineering moment of puck possession, basically shrugging him off.
It turns out that wasn’t even the most dominant moment for Byfuglien. Instead, it came when he delivered a vicious hit on Devils forward Brian Boyle, another forward who brings robust size to a league where beefier players are becoming less abundant. On that check, Boyle looked downright undersized.
Moments later, Ben Lovejoy tried to send a message to Byfuglien, who replied by knocking Lovejoy to the ice.
Again, there are times when you need to accept the inevitable: death, taxes, and Byfuglien being too much for you to contain.
As far as chatter about supplementary discipline might go, note that Byfuglien didn’t receive a match penalty. According to NHL.com’s box score, he was whistled for charging and unsportsmanlike conduct for that boisterous stretch.
Should there be more? Two different observers provided conflicting responses moments apart, including PHT’s Scott Billeck:
Paul Maurice had an interesting take on Byfuglien being penalized.
“It was a car wreck, right. Somebody had to go to jail,” Maurice said, via Billeck. “Just two enormous men coming together. And something bad had to have happened.”
One way or another, it’s best to avoid any collisions with Byfuglien, whether you believe they’re dirty or squeaky clean. Byfuglien’s beast mode seems to translate to morphing into Godzilla.
UPDATE The Jets ended up beating the Devils 5-2. Byfuglien generated an assist in Winnipeg’s win.
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.