After hearing Dustin Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets were looking to mutually terminate his contract with the team, a common question being tossed around the locker room by media was what the players thought of the news.
Most weren’t quick to provide the media with a sound bite that would come back and suggest the team was upset or held ill will towards the big defenseman, but others weren’t shy about sharing their opinions.
Center Andrew Copp called it a media driven issue saying, “We’re not bugged by it at all throughout the course of the year.” Copp went on to list off the many players the organization lost over the past season saying this is a totally different team. “Out of sight, out of mind,” he repeated.
Meanwhile, Patrik Laine wasn’t so quick to let Byfuglien off with a free pass.
“Buff was a huge part of our team and its success over the past couple of years,” Laine said. He added, “If he doesn’t want to play anymore, that’s his decision.” Laine would add that it would have been nice to know what Byfuglien’s decision was going to be earlier so the team could have used his money on someone else.
Head coach Paul Maurice advised the media not to write too many stories about Byfuglien’s decisions or the Jets next path until there’s some concrete movement either way. With that in mind, he said, “I was surprised when he walked in and said he wasn’t playing hockey.” He added, “Nothing surprises me any more.”
The good news is, should this Byfuglien stuff all get sorted out, the team should get some much-needed help on their blue line and the sour taste of Big Buff essentially walking out on his team might not linger. And, if it does right now and the news he’s likely leaving the organization touches a nerve inside the locker room, don’t expect the players currently fighting for their playoff lives to feed to the media anything they can use.
Related: Maple Leafs Looking Into Acquiring Jack Campbell
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