Jilted Buff, Ladd face off against former team
TED WYMAN, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Ladd (L) reaches for the puck in front of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derick Brassard during the third period of NHL pre-season action in Winnipeg, September 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)
Just a few weeks after they won the 2010 Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd were traded as part of a major salary dump by the cap-conscious champions.
They barely had time to celebrate their accomplishment before being shipped to Atlanta, and now both players are in Winnipeg after that franchise moved north in the off-season.
Thursday night, when the Winnipeg Jets play the Hawks at the United Center, it will mark their first return to the old stomping grounds and their first chance to see the Stanley Cup banners in the rafters.
“One of the things I’m looking forward to is just seeing that banner up there and thinking of good times, but I have a job to do here too,” said Byfuglien, an all-star defenceman who played a major role at forward during the Hawks Cup run.
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s just another game where I have to go there and get to work.”
The Hawks paid a visit to Atlanta last season and won 5-4 in a shootout on Nov. 6.
“It was a good time, it was a lot of laughs,” Byfuglien said. “You’ve still got to be serious but after the game there were a lot of laughs.”
Jets captain Ladd admits he has a lot of good friends who he talks to on a regular basis on the Blackhawks.
“We’ll probably go out for dinner before the game but once we hit the ice it’s business as usual and we’ll have a laugh after the game,” Ladd said. “Not having been back since we won, it’s going to be pretty cool to go back in there and see the banner and all the training staff and all the people in the office who were part of that 2010 team.
“It will be nice to see all of that but it would be nice to get a win too.”
Both players expected to get a good reception from the Chicago fans and Byfuglien said there are no hard feelings toward the organization.
“Right away when I was traded, I was kinda disappointed,” Byfuglien said. “But the more I looked down the line and looked ahead at things, it was obviously a good thing. Going to Atlanta and coming here, it’s a young team and it’s always fun to be a part of a team that builds from the ground up.
“Chicago was young once.”