Winnipeg Jets fans can breathe a sigh of relief when they learned that defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be out Saturday in their game against the Ottawa Senators as head coach Paul Maurice indicated that the injury is a minor one and is in no way related to the ankle injury that kept the 6-foot-5, 260-pound blueliner out of 15 games earlier this season, according to Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun.
“It’s another minor one that’s not going to help the original one,” Maurice said. “The original one’s fine enough to play. It’s strong, and it’s getting stronger. He wasn’t going to be able to perform very well, and we think in a few days he’ll settle right in.”
Winnipeg doesn’t play another game until Wednesday and Maurice believes that Byfuglien should be ready to return for that game in Colorado. With the loss of Joseph Morrow, the Jets will be shorthanded on defense, although Sami Niku was recalled earlier today to step into the lineup.
- Sticking with the Jets, rumors have been thriving about the Jets’ attempts to pick up a top rental player before the trade deadline. However, that acquisition may have to prove themselves to work their way into the Jets’ top six as Maurice defended second-line center Bryan Little, suggesting that Little will not be leaving the team’s second line even if the team acquires a big-name player, according to TSN. “Other than the 16 points in the last 17 games, he’s gotta tighten that up, doesn’t he?” Maurice said. “He’s playing with two really young, unique players (Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic/Nikolaj Ehlers) and he’s done that for the last year and a half and he’s carried them in so many ways. Maybe it’s only the coach’s point of you to see how hard he works to get in and make things happen, but also to get out, to be on the right side of the puck, to battle every shift, to work with these kids who are really unique players.”
- Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that goaltender Corey Crawford has been cleared to return to the ice after sitting out for the last two months with another concussion. However, the team wants to be cautious before throwing him back in and won’t activate him for Saturday’s game. Lieser reports the team is considering putting him in the lineup on Monday when the host Ottawa, setting the veteran up with an easy home matchup to ease him back into the lineup. Crawford’s return could also force Collin Delia to return to the AHL despite faring well since being recalled.