I know the Jets are kind of hidden up in the hills of Canada and do not get as much press as some of the other teams in the league, but I feel like the Dustin Byfuglien situation should be talked about more. Granted it’s been hush hush on both sides, but this whole thing has been weird from the very beginning. If you are in the dark about anything that has happened, here is a not so quick rundown.
Last year, Big Buff had an ankle injury. Over the summer he didn’t partake in any hockey activities, including Da Beauty League, in which he usually plays. As the season approached, Buff didn’t show up for the Jets training camp. This forced Winnipeg to suspend him. It was rumored that Buff was going to retire at some point, but no news about that has ever been confirmed. This is where things get weirder….
Buff apparently got ankle surgery on his own. The team wasn’t involved in the surgery since he was technically suspended. From doing research on my own, this timeline could be off, but this seems to be the most accurate series of events. This all would make sense, except that players have a physical at the end of the year, for insurance purposes. They obviously want to make sure that players don’t hurt themselves in the offseason and then blame the team when they return. Buff was deemed healthy at the end of the season. I can’t confirm that anything was on that report that maybe said ankle injury (use caution). I have no idea what those reports consist of. But the Jets cleared the all-star defenseman and Byfuglien signed off on it as well.
Currently the NHLPA is gathering information about the case and trying to figure out what exactly went wrong. Did the end of year physical miss the ankle and now Buff is trying to say he hurt it last year and now needs surgery, but couldn’t because he had to miss camp and was suspended? That would make sense on his end because he would be considered LTIR and be paid accordingly. But if he signed off on the physical and never reported it, Buff doesn’t really have a case. Did he do the surgery on his own because he didn’t want to be stuck in Winnipeg to rehab? That’s also plausible.
From what I heard the Jets and Byfuglien have a great relationship. Their GM, Kevin Cheveldayoff, and him are pretty close. It also doesn’t hurt the cap if Buff is put on LTIR. So he wouldn’t exactly be screwing the Jets other than not being on the ice when they clearly need him. This obviously all comes down to money and I can see both sides. I don’t know all the numbers behind it, but it seems that Buff wants to retire, be out of Winnipeg, but still get paid this year. Unfortunately it looks like he screwed himself by not showing up to camp and not getting his surgery through the organization. I get he doesn’t want to be tied to Winnipeg anymore, but in order to get paid, you have to bite that bullet.
I could be completely wrong, but hopefully we hear some news sooner rather than later to clear this all up. Until then, I am loving this Jets chaos as I put some coin on the season point total under 93.5. It will be close, but we will see how the season unfolds.