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Byfuglien wants 'to be the best player out there'

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Dustin Byfuglien stepped in front of a throng of media today, an occurrence as rare as an audience with the Pope.

He looked leaner and moved well on the first on-ice day of Winnipeg Jets training camp, but would not reveal what he weighed in at during the medicals (the club training-camp guide lists him at 265 pounds).

Asked if he was down in weight, Byfuglien said:

"Yeah. A little bit. Up and down."

Byfuglien did say he spent more time on the ice this summer working on fine-tuning his game and also attended the U.S. Olympic Orientation camp.

"I didn’t really do anything different. I was on the ice a little bit more," he said. "I did what I had to do to come to camp ready to go."

The Jets clearly need Byfuglien to be more engaged, more consistent and more committed if they are to become a playoff team. When he’s on, he’s a difference maker. And when he’s not, he’s a difference maker for all the wrong reasons.

"Everyone tries to be as consistent as they can, that’s the main focus," said Byfuglien. "It’s something I just have to bear down on and try to do my hardest and my best and just work with it."

As for his own goals in 2013-14, he added:

"Same as every year: try to get to the top and try to be the best player out there I can be and try and take over games."

"Buff’s a very dynamic player," said teammated Zach Bogosian. "When he’s on top of his game, he’s one of the best in the league. He can help us out a lot when he’s on top of his game. He looks good this year."

More Byfuglien, riffing on a couple of timely topics:

On how many exhibition games he’d like to play in to get ready for the regular season:

"I’d rather play in all of them. Who wants to sit and watch? That’s the way I look at it."

On whether the possibility of playing for the United States is any extra motivation to start the year:

"It helps. It helps me maybe get out of the gates a little better but when I was there I was focused on that camp and now that I’m here I’m focused with the Jets.

Asked what it would mean for him to be able to don the American jersey, Byfuglien said with a smirk:

"It’d be nice to take the gold from Canada."

ed.tait@freepress

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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