In this week’s edition of the 31 Thought’s podcast with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman, the topic of conversation switched to the Winnipeg Jets and to speculation about defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. Friedman noted that Byfuglien was seemingly committed to retirement, but that Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff had talked him out of the move, or at least had him put the final decision on hold.
“I will tell you, the word is that he wanted to retire and the Jets talked him out of it, or at least said ‘wait’. He’s really tight with Cheveldayoff, they have a really good relationship. I don’t know where this is gonna go, I think they (Jets) are going to wait on him as long as they can.”
As we roll into the second month of “Byfuglien Watch” there has been plenty of speculation about just what it was that is keeping Big Buff away from the rink, but the general assumption which is seemingly like the correct one is that the 34 year old defenseman who would have been going into his 15th NHL season, and who had spent the last two seasons dealing with major injuries, was generally feeling worn out and needed time away from hockey to decide his future. He requested a leave from the team on the opening day of camp. A few weeks later the team “suspended” Byfuglien in what was more of a procedural / Salary Cap roster move than anything else.
You can check out their talk about Buff and the Jets which features a good amount of optimism about the club from Friedman over on Sportsnet’s website and fast forward to the 51:32 mark of the show.