WINNIPEG — Don’t worry about me, Dustin Byfuglien told reporters and fans this morning.
The anchor Winnipeg Jets defenceman has returned to the city and was on the ice with many of his teammates this morning at the MTS Iceplex for the first time since the labour dispute ended.
Byfuglien certainly looked no larger or worse than during last season and was asked a half-dozen times about his conditioning and his weight. Each response came with a grin and only a general comment.
On his weight from over the summer: "I stayed right around the same."
On what his weight is: "You guys always want to know that. You’ll never get it."
(The team lists it as 265 pounds on its website.)
On his condition at the moment:"I guess it’s time to go to work. It doesn’t matter. I don’t have a choice. You have to go. It’s alright. I feel fine."
During the lockout, Byfuglien stayed at his Minnneaoplis-area home and skated regularly with a group of as many as 30 players.
"We had 30-plus guys down there," Byfuglien said. "It wasn’t bad to be there and go to the rink every day because you had a good group of guys to go skate with. It was a good little game. Some days it was tough to get up and go but it wasn’t that bad."
A bonus of the time off was being near his family, Byfuglien said.
"It was definitely long," he said. "I guess it was good to stay home and be with the family and watch the daughter grow up a little bit more. And getting a little bit of free time to do different things."
During the summer, Byfuglien saw the resolution of his legal troubles in Minnesota over a boating incident and charges at the end of the summer of 2011.
He was convicted on only one of several charges, that for careless boating. He was fined $1,000 and received a 30-day sentence, 28 of them suspended.
What else was asked of you by the court, Byfuglien was asked.
"It was a few little community service things, that was it," he said. "Everything’s done."