SAN JOSE — Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff says Dustin Byfuglien will remain suspended without pay after having surgery last week to repair a high-ankle sprain.
"From our situation, nothing’s really changed with the news with respect to him having surgery. We’re aware he was contemplating it. When we said we weren’t directly involved, we weren’t directly involved. But we knew he was contemplating that. As far as what remains for the future, it’s something that we’ll just have to wait and see," Cheveldayoff told reporters here in San Jose prior to the Jets practice.
But he refused to shed any more light on a puzzling situation, including why the veteran defencemen had the medical procedure away from the team, whether he plans to return to hockey and why he didn't simply report to the team at training camp and be placed on the injured list, which would have allowed him to collect his $8 million salary.
"It’s a complicated issue, it’s a real complicated issue when it comes to answering any questions that you might have. I’m here to speak but there’s not much I can enlighten you with as it stands right now," he said.
Byfuglien, 34, has two years remaining on his contract, with an average annual cap hit of $7.6 million. He suffered two ankle injuries and a concussion last year and played in only 42 of the club's 82 regular-season games.
Byfuglien began skating with his Jets teammates a few days prior to the start of training camp, then dropped a bombshell later that week that he was considering retirement. He's been out of sight, but certainly not out of mind, ever since.
"You guys asked me to come up and speak here. There’s not much I can enlighten you with more than what’s already out there," Cheveldayoff said. "Again, going back to the start of training camp, that’s when I met with Dustin and (that's) all pretty well-documented stuff. Obviously, over the course of time here, he has had an ankle surgery and we’re dealing with that. With respect to anything else that I can comment on, that’s pretty much where it’s at at this point in time."
Cheveldayoff said the team remains in "constant conversation" with Byfuglien's agent. When asked by the Free Press if this could be a case where Byfuglien and the team had a difference of medical opinion, he wouldn't bite.
"I know you’re gonna have a lot of questions and the answers that I can give you, I can’t speak for anyone other than ourselves," he said. "Again, it’s tough to sit here and talk about something that I can’t really talk about at this point in time. I wanted to come here and at least speak with you guys."
"His status hasn’t changed. Again, with the news coming out, I talked about coming out here, the hard part is there’s not much more I can say. The status has been the same since the beginning of training camp."
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.