Why Dustin Byfuglien escaped a suspension for the Brendan Gallagher hit

Matt Larkin
Dustin Byfuglien (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Dustin Byfuglien hit on Brendan Gallagher creates a nice opportunity for some education on player safety and how suspensions happen.

The social media assumption after Winnipeg’s Byfuglien appeared to club Montreal’s Gallagher with a high hit Sunday night was that Byfuglien had a lengthy ban from the NHL headed his way. After all, he’d been suspended four games late last season for a crosscheck to the head of New York Rangers center J.T. Miller. Another illegal check to the head would easily place Byfuglien under the repeat offender category according to the collective bargaining agreement and the Department of Player Safety.

The catch here, though, is that none of that history was relevant if Byfuglien’s hit on Gallagher was deemed unworthy of supplemental discipline. And that’s exactly what happened Tuesday after the league’s hearing with Byfuglien. No one can explain the rationale better than the DOPS itself, so here’s the video with player safety director Patrick Burke narrating:

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Prospect Need to Know: Carter Hart makes his crease case for 2016

Everett's Carter Hart  (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

It’s been a controversial week in the prospect world, as the CHL-NCAA talent war reached DEFCON 1. First, Toronto pick Jeremy Bracco departed Boston College for OHL Kitchener, then days later Carolina prospect Warren Foegele jetted from New Hampshire for OHL Kingston. This didn’t sit well with social media’s college boosters, but in the end it’s up to the players. As for Kingston, the Frontenacs just traded for Maple Leafs pick Stephen Desrocher, who won a Memorial Cup with Oshawa last year. He’ll add size and a big shot to the blueline of a team clearly going for it all. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the world of prospects right now.


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Dustin Byfuglien flips Brendan Gallagher with booming open-ice hit

Jared Clinton
Dustin Byfuglien flips Brendan Gallagher (via SomeHockeyVids/YouTube)

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is a mountain of a man. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, he’s one of the most imposing physical figures in the game. And while Montreal Canadiens Brendan Gallagher has never been one to shy away from the physical game, the 5-foot-9, 182-pound right winger may have been wise to dodge an open-ice collision with Byfuglien.

In the first period of Sunday’s game between the Jets and Canadiens, a bouncing puck got through the neutral zone and was headed into Winnipeg’s end with Byfuglien and Gallagher giving chase. The reach of Byfuglien was enough to poke the puck away from Gallagher, who was then absolutely trucked by the Jets blueliner: Read more

Oilers’ McDavid headlines impressive rookie crop

Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

Most of the pre-season scuttlebutt pitted two so-called generational players, Edmonton Oilers center and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, in a duel for the Calder Trophy.

Advantage McDavid.

As the calendar flipped over to November, Eichel had racked up four goals in 11 games, putting him in a tie for 12th in rookie scoring. McDavid, meanwhile, sits atop the rookie race.

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Jets have another hidden gem in Michigan forward Kyle Connor

Ryan Kennedy
Kyle Connor. (Youngstown Phantoms)

The Winnipeg Jets should probably send Don Sweeney a fruit basket. When the rookie Bruins GM made three straight picks in the middle of the first round of the draft, he and his scouting crew somehow left centers Matt Barzal and Kyle Connor on the board, reaching instead for Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn (although taking Jakub Zboril at No. 12 was solid, as he was the best D-man still on the board).

The New York Islanders immediately traded up to grab Barzal, meaning the Jets had the opportunity to snap up the leading scorer in the United States League.

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Rumor Roundup: Contract talks on hold, but don’t expect Jets to deal Byfuglien

Lyle Richardson
Dustin Byfuglien. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien frequently popped up in the off-season rumor mill. His eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency and the Jets reputation as a budget club fuelled speculation he could be dealt this season.

ESPN.com’s John Buccigross was asked by one of his readers if the Detroit Red Wings might take a run at Byfuglien. While Buccigross believes the Wings are well set for cap space, he doubts they’ll target “Big Buff” because the 30-year-old blueliner isn’t an organizational pillar.

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Prospect Need to Know: Walman not satisfied, Reway’s bizarre demotion

Blues pick Jake Walman  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Welcome back to another spin around the world of prospects. The big news this week concerns Montreal Canadiens pick Martin Reway. Just last week, I wrote in this space about how amazing the Slovakian youngster was playing in the Czech League – he was the leading scorer on the circuit. But then, he was sent down by Sparta Praha to a lower-tiered team. It sounded like insanity. According to insiders that I spoke with, Sparta wanted to sign Reway to a contract extension, but the left winger wasn’t agreeable. That led to a rift, which led to a trade request, which is where we stand now.

Here are some other names you need to know right now:

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‘I asked for trade every off-season in Winnipeg': Evander Kane

Ken Campbell
Tyler Ennis (left), Evander Kane and Ryan O'Reilly (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres announced Monday that Evander Kane will be out four-to-six weeks with a strain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee, which will still leave him plenty of time to be back in the lineup for when the Sabres visit the Winnipeg Jets Jan. 10.

Do not expect the homecoming to be a sweet one after Kane’s comments about his time in Winnipeg for a profile  in the Nov. 9 issue of The Hockey News, which is now on newsstands and available on-line. Kane recently came under some fire for hiring a helicopter to take him and some teammates to Toronto for Game 3 of the American League championship series and he responded to it by scoring the tying goal and being the first star in the Sabres shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs two nights later.

So the glare of the spotlight clearly does not bother this young man, even when that glare gets a little too hot. In fact, he embraces it.

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