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Dustin Byfuglien will face the music for his cross-check to the neck of New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller on Thursday.

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today that Byfuglien will have a phone hearing for his actions in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. 

Winnipeg Jets Dustin Byfuglien puts down New York Rangers J.T. Miller hard in a collision with Ondrej Pavelec in the second period Tuesday. Byfuglien's crosscheck didn't get a penalty during the game, but it is expected to be reviewed by NHL officials.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Jets Dustin Byfuglien puts down New York Rangers J.T. Miller hard in a collision with Ondrej Pavelec in the second period Tuesday. Byfuglien's crosscheck didn't get a penalty during the game, but it is expected to be reviewed by NHL officials.

As a result, the Winnipeg Jets will likely be heading into their most critical portion of their season without their most valuable player. The Jets are next in action Saturday as they wrap up a four-game homestand against Vancouver and Byfuglien’s status will be certain by then.

After that, the Jets head out on a three-game road trip to Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado before winding up the regular season April 11th at home to Calgary. Winnipeg is 39-26-12 and, with 90 points, holds down the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference playoff race — two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.

There was no penalty on the play, but video replays showed Byfuglien cross-checking a prone Miller in the neck and into the ice in front of Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.

Said the Department of Player Safety: "The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: Cross-checking. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review."

"Violent, deliberate… could have broken his neck," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault after the game. "So, I don’t know what’s going to happen but it’s one of the most vicious cross-checks I’ve seen this year."

TSN analyst Craig Button said Tuesday night he expects Byfuglien to be suspended.

"The bottom line is it’s a vicious cross-check in front of the net to a defenceless player," said Button on That’s Hockey 2Nite. "It could be considered a non-hockey play. Really, when you see it more and more it becomes even more distasteful.

"Unfortunately, not only did the Winnipeg Jets lose this game, they’re going to lose a significant part of their team for some games."

Byfuglien did not speak to the media after the game and the cross-check did not come up in coach Paul Maurice’s post-game session with the press.

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait