Injury won't slow Byfuglien
Kirk Penton, QMI Agency
|The Jets' Dustin Byfuglien collides with Jay Beagle of the Washington Capitals in NHL action at the MTS Centre on March 16, 2012 in Winnipeg. (QMI Agency/Marianne Helm/Getty Images/AFP)
Part of Dustin Byfuglien wants to practise more, but most of him doesn’t.
“Does anyone ever want to practise?” Byfuglien said Sunday with a laugh. “It’s practice.”
Good point. Byfuglien is nursing a lower-body injury that will limit how much he does on the ice outside of games. He didn’t practise last week, nor did he take any morning skates.
“I’d actually like to get out there a lot more,” said Byfuglien, who scored the winning goal on Friday against the Capitals. “I think we will, but we got a lot of games coming up here so it’s just a matter of maintaining everything and trying to be as healthy as possible.”
Byfuglien left Friday’s game after limping off the ice, but he returned to play the role of hero. He didn’t do any more damage to his injury.
“It’s just little bumps and bruises,” he said. “You get sore at this time of year, and sometimes you just need to walk it off. That’s all that was.”
The affliction, which is very likely his left knee acting up, hasn’t slowed down No. 33. Prior to Sunday’s action, Byfuglien had registered two points in a whopping nine of his last 16 games.
Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson found it strange that Jets defenceman Mark Stuart wasn’t suspended for the hit on him in the first period on Friday night.
Stuart was fined $2,500 for what the NHL deemed was a late hit on Johansson, who had his helmet knocked off and missed about 20 minutes of game action while getting checked out. It appeared Stuart hit Johansson in the head, but he wasn’t penalized on the play.
“Seeing (Mike Green) and (Alex Ovechkin) get three games for something that’s pretty similar, I think it’s weird,” Johansson told the Washington Times on Sunday.
The Jets visit the Capitals in a critical rematch on Friday at Verizon Center, but it doesn’t sound like Johansson or the Caps will be out for retribution.
“It’s over now, and there’s not much to look back at,” Johansson told the paper. “I’m good to play, so it’s all right.”
Caps head coach Dale Hunter believes the non-call on Stuart had an impact on the game.
“At least they recognized it, that it should’ve been called,” Hunter told reporters. “He got fined, so at least it should have been a penalty. We should have had a five-on-three, which would’ve been a big part of the game.”
Jets head coach Claude Noel had kind words on Sunday for the recent work of the fourth line, which features Nik Antropov, Antti Miettinen and Tim Stapleton. (Noel, by the way, doesn’t believe in numbering lines).
He said the group really got back on track a couple of weeks ago when Tim Stapleton rested a nagging injury and got his speed back. Since then, they’ve been a dangerous trio.
“That line was just kind of hovering around games, but since he’s really picked up it’s helped the whole unit,” Noel said. “All three of them work well together, and Miettinen and Antropov are starting to find their way together.
“They look like they can see what’s happening and have a really good feel for what’s going on. They’ve been a really good line for us. They’ve produced.”