Byfuglien missing Friday's game
KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien watches play during practice in Winnipeg Saturday September 24, 2011. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien will miss Friday’s pre-season finale against the Nashville Predators due to injury.
The team won’t say what the injury is.
“He’s still banged up a bit. Yeah, he’s just banged up,” head coach Claude Noel said Thursday after Winnipeg’s practice at MTS Centre. “I know you’re going to ask what does he have, but I’m not prepared to tell you. It’s nothing major. He’s day to day.”
Byfuglien didn’t play in Wednesday’s 3-1 pre-season victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at MTS Centre. True North chairman Mark Chipman told the Sun during the game that Byfuglien wasn’t hurt.
Shouldn’t miss opener
Noel doesn’t think the big blue-liner will miss the season-opener on Oct. 9 against the Montreal Canadiens.
“We’re waiting to get him on the ice, which is coming soon,” Noel said. “I don’t know exactly, but he should be ready to go here. I don’t see him not being here as a starter.”
Centre Ben Maxwell also missed Thursday’s practice after getting “banged up” in Wednesday’s win over the Hurricanes. He is unlikely to play Friday against the Predators.
Asked if Byfuglien’s injury was upper or lower body in nature, Noel said it was “middle of the road.”
SOLID SUPPORT: Noel praised Troy Bodie for a strong camp, saying if it were up to him the Portage la Prairie product would be moving down the Trans-Canada Highway to the big city.
“I’ve liked him. I like his game. I like what he does. He’s been pretty good,” Noel said. “He’s a role player, and I like him. The problem with all players in this bubble stage is that waivers start to happen at this particular time. So you’ve got guys, other guys are being let go.
“He looks like he’s on the cusp of being an NHL player. He’s played some games. If he’s here I’d be fine with him being here. But I’m not going to be the one to determine that completely.”
TENSE TIMES: Noel said the final cuts will probably happen on Saturday, which makes it tough on the players who are on the bubble.
“You see them in the morning, and they’re not sure whether they should run and hide so that they don’t have to deal with you,” Noel said. “You can’t even say good morning. You feel for them, though. It’s painful.”
Noel’s tentative plan is to keep an extra forward and defenceman, which means he will have to cut 11 players.