NEW YORK – First the good news on the Dustin Byfuglien injury front: the big Winnipeg Jets defenceman was on the ice today during the team’s optional practice at Madison Square Garden.
And now the uncertainty: his availability for Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers won’t be known until sometime before puck drop (6 p.m.; TSN/TSN1290).
Byfuglien left Sunday’s 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils in the third period after banging into the boards awkwardly. Immediately after the game head coach Claude Noel said Byfuglien would be further evaluated today.
Byfuglien did not speak to media after the morning session and a team official said that he would see how he feels on Tuesday but that he ‘looks like a player for tomorrow.’
The same cannot be said for Antti Miettinen, who lasted just 17 seconds in his first game seconds before he took a puck in the lower body. Miettinen was not one of the seven skaters who practised today – aside from Byfuglien the others were Chris Thorburn, Anthony Peluso, James Wright, Eric Tangradi, Julian Melchiori and Paul Postma with both Al Montoya and Eddie Pasquale getting work in the nets.
Today's optional practice was run by assistant coaches Perry Pearn, Charlie Huddy and Pascal Vincent, with Noel not attending.