With the stage being a large one and a national audience watching, last weekend with the Winnipeg Jets playing in Regina, Sportsnet couldn’t help but to ask Kevin Cheveldayoff and then Paul Maurice about Dustin Byfuglien and his status with the Jets.
Cheveldayoff and Maurice as they typically do held their cards close to the vest and didn’t reveal much of anything, but unlike past answers where there had been nothing but support and patience for the MIA Jets defenseman, both of their answers were far more terse and bordering on annoyance. Cheveldayoff responded to a Byfuglien question about a possible deadline on his decision asked by Elliotte Friedman saying “I don’t know even how to answer that question in the sense that, again, it’s a complicated issue.” Maurice was even a bit more cryptic when asked if he was holding out hope of a Buff return by stating “I’m holding out hope, but I will say his happiness and sanity comes first.”
His sanity? That seems like an odd word to throw in there.
We now know that Byfuglien likely had his ankle surgery a day or two before the Jets took the ice in Regina and did so without being fully engaged in the decision making of going under the knife. It’s unknown if the Jets were aware of the surgery as of Saturday – and thanks to the tight lipped nature of the organization we may never know – but if they were aware, it understandably added to the frustration that management has over the entire situation.
Is the mood with Buff changing?
13 games in, the Jets are off to a sub .500 start to the season with just two wins in regulation, and it’s due in large part to a hodge-podge defense that has played very poorly most nights. It’s an issue that the team would probably like to address, but can’t at the moment because they’ve been waiting for a final decision from Byfuglien. They have just enough Salary Cap room at the moment to fit him on to the roster and any other major addition of a player making over one million this season likely shuts that door without another move to re-open it.
That Byfuglien seemingly waited until opening day of training camp to tell Cheveldayoff and the Jets that he still needed time away also hurt immensely. How much more different would the Jets summer have been had Dustin told the team in June or July and would have that allowed Cheveldayoff to be more proactive in building the defense the Jets were to have for the 2019-20 season? Would it have even mattered? Perhaps Cheveldayoff would have done the same thing in July as he did in September and patiently waited for Byfuglien to make a final decision.
With this latest development though, a Buff return – if it is going to happen and we have no idea it will – certainly is not going to happen any time soon.
At best he recovers well from surgery and decides he wants back on the ice for the Jets which could all happen around December or January which may be too late to salvage the current season if the club continues to play .500 hockey.
At worst, the Jets will go beyond December or January still stuck in this limbo of wanting to be fair and patient with a franchise cornerstone, but at the cost of being unable to help their current situation with a roster move and without any promise that the 15 year NHL veteran will even return at all.
UPDATE: Darren Dreger has speculated that Byfuglien could be out as long as four months which means he might not be available until March.
My understanding is Byfuglien had the surgery in Minnesota last week. Loose timeline on recovery, but could be upwards of 4 months.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 31, 2019
All of that uncertainty can lead to frustration by both the team itself and the fan base and it’s becoming more noticeable with each day that passes.
Has your opinion / mood of the Dustin Byfuglien situation changed at all? Are you still supportive of Big Buff and willing to continue to wait, or would you like the Jets to start moving on to possibly help their current season? Be sure to vote on our poll on the right hand side of he site and then sound off in the comments section or on either our Twitter feed or Facebook page! and