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A bit on the wild side

‘Buff plays on the edge... sometimes over the edge’

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Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel has spent a summer studying film on his new charges.

But nobody has jumped out at him more during the first three days of training camp than the team’s biggest star, literally and figuratively.

"It’s pretty wild, how he plays," said Noel with a laugh. "A couple of days of scrimmage and I’m turning my head here."

Byfuglien led all NHL defencemen in goals last year with 20 and is a difference maker when he’s on his game, but he also faded in the second half. Asked if that concerned him, Noel said:

"No, I’m not concerned. I haven’t spoken with Buff enough to say that. That’s part of a different coach, too. You try and get players to play your way, the way you’d like them to play.

"I think Buff wants to play and so do I. We’ve got to get the best (out) of each other and find the way you want him to play. At the end of the day you want them to play as efficiently as you can. Get their ‘A’ games, get consistency and get them as efficient as you can.

"Buff plays on the edge... sometimes over the edge. I’d like to tow him a little bit, but with those types of players you have to be a little bit careful. You got to bend a little bit, you know? If you start to hammer all the time, now you don’t get anything. You gotta make an investment in each other."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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