Big Buff Needs A New Home

Yup, I said it.  But it’s not what you’re thinking.

"Suck it, Vancouver!"

I love Dustin ‘Big Buff’ Byfuglien.  I think, like probably most ‘Peggers, he’s the player that I’m the most up and down with.  I haven’t loved any player on the Jets as much as I’ve loved Buff when he’s on, and he’s probably been my most hated player at times too. Whether it’s not hustling hard enough on the back-check, or a lazy turnover.  But nothing brings the crowd to their feet like a Big Buff clapper from the point that snaps the twine, or when he sends a guy literally flying, like only he can.

I’ve got a friendly rivalry with a pal who lives in Richmond, BC, so, naturally, we’re both gearing up for the only showdown of the season between the Jets and Canucks on March 8.

Back in 2010, before there were any serious whispers about an NHL team coming back to Winnipeg, I was just a regular Canadian hockey fan.  And here’s the honest-to-God truth: The only thing I vividly remember about the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup run is Dustin Byfuglien.

Specifically, the series between the ‘Hawks and ‘Nucks.  As a Canadian with no team to call my own, I was pulling hard for Vancouver to go all the way.  And let me tell you, when that final whistle blew, sealing the demise of the Canucks in the 2010 Playoffs, I knew one thing only: I hated Dustin Byfuglien.

That guy was parked in front of Luongo from the start of the series, to its finish.  He was smug, arrogant, big, strong, talented, and loved rubbing it his opponents’ faces.  My face.  But the real reason people hate(d) him, is because he’s damn good at what he does, and is effective.

Naturally, now that he represents Winnipeg, I love the guy.  But with every passing game, I feel more and more strongly that he needs to go back where he belongs; forward.

I am really having a tough time understanding why he was moved to defence, unless it was by his own request.  He’s easily one of the biggest, strongest players in the NHL, and has proven that he is far and away most effective when he’s parked in front of the net.

Sure, he’s got a hell of a slap shot, but he seems to struggle to hit the net a lot of the time.  He’s not the fastest skater, and everyone has seen how much he loves coming down off the point and going deep into the offensive zone.  So why are we surprised when he can’t make it back in time to even up a 2-on-1?  He’s an offensive-minded player, with the size and strength to wreak havoc in front of the net, and doesn’t stay in position on defence.  How many more reasons do we need to put him up on forward?

We’re at a little too critical of a point in time right now to be doing any experimenting, but I hope that Claude Noel will consider trying him out on forward maybe for some exhibition games in the next season.  Or hell, experiment with it on March 8 against the Canucks, and then ask Bobby Lu what he thinks of the decision after the game.

    • Bmay
    • February 24th, 2012

    I love Big Buff!

  1. Applicants for Canadian citizenship should have to pronounce Byfuglien’s name.

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