Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Maurice pleased with Byfuglien's forward progress

  • Print

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice corrected a questioner on Thursday when asked how the Dustin Byfuglien experiment was going.

"I don't find this to be an experiment because he has such a body of work at both," Maurice said.

Byfuglien was moved to forward for a game Jan. 11 and stayed there when Maurice took over the team on Jan. 12.

"It's not like I'm taking this as the first kick where he goes to forward," the new coach said.

"He's been a forward for a long time. I like the way he's playing. I really like the way he's into the game on the bench. He's finishing checks. He's engaged in what he's doing. He doesn't at all look like a player who's waiting for this experiment not to work and, 'I'm going back to where I want to.'

"I'm not getting any of that from him. He's put up big numbers, scored overtime goals. He's impactful in our game. I don't spend any time, really, thinking about that. He's a forward right now. Until he makes us a better team by going on defence, then he stays there right now. He's doing a really good job."

Byfuglien, on a line with centre Olli Jokinen and right-winger Devin Setoguchi most of the time, has two goals and six points in these recent nine games as a forward.

-- -- --

The Jets returned to full practice mode on Thursday at the MTS Centre but were without forwards Blake Wheeler and Eric O'Dell.

Wheeler was kept off the ice for maintenance reasons and Maurice said he'll be fine and will play tonight.

O'Dell was away from the team, in Ottawa, about to become a father. The coach was unsure if he'll be back in time for tonight's affair.

-- -- --

While the Canucks are the 29th and final NHL opponent to pay a regular-season visit to the MTS Centre, they haven't been completely absent since 1996.

When True North, in its early years operating the IHL's and AHL's Manitoba Moose, began staging NHL exhibition games in Winnipeg, the Canucks were participants the first three times.

Vancouver played pre-season games here in 2000, 2002 and 2003, the latter two as part of the synergy established when the Moose became the Canucks' AHL affiliate starting in 2001.

Eight NHL pre-season games were played here between 2000 and 2010.

-- -- --

Jets captain Andrew Ladd said Thursday he was unaware the Canucks hadn't visited yet.

A B.C. native, Ladd certainly has Canucks memories and exposure.

"I was a big Trevor Linden fan growing up," he said Thursday. "He was probably a guy I looked up to.

"I think I met him at Stan Smyl's hockey school in Whistler one year. I was 10 years old maybe. It's always fun to meet your idols. That was cool."

-- -- --

The Canucks won't have anything close to their best team on the ice tonight.

Already without suspended coach John Tortorella for one final game tonight, acting head coach Mike Sullivan told the Vancouver Sun on Thursday the team will start its five-game road trip without veteran defenceman Kevin Bieksa.

Bieksa, a former Manitoba Moose defenceman, had been bothered by a sore foot for a couple of weeks but did play Wednesday at home.

Vancouver is also without another former Moose blue-liner, Chris Tanev, who is absent because of a broken finger.

Also missing are captain Henrik Sedin (ribs) and forward Mike Santorelli (shoulder), who skated for the Jets at the end of last season. Santorelli has clicked for 10 goals and 28 points for Vancouver this season.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 31, 2014 C7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets players discuss outcome of Game 3 and hopes for Game 4

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • A Canada Goose cools off in a water pond Monday afternoon at Brookside Cemetary- See Bryksa’s Goose a day Challenge– Day 27-June 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Will Connor McDavid make the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team?

View Results

Ads by Google