Dustin Byfuglien. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
Winnipeg Jets rearguard Dustin Byfuglien may have sparked a Central Division rivalry with the St. Louis Blues with his booming hit on defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. The bone-jarring hit sent all 6-foot-4, 212 pounds of Bouwmeester sailing through the air and into the boards.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester doesn’t find himself getting dropped by a bodycheck often, if for no other reason than there are few players who possess the speed, size and strength to knock the 6-foot-4, 212-pound blueliner off his feet. However, the Winnipeg Jets do have one player equal to the task of bowling over Bouwmeester, and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien did just that Sunday.
Late in the third period of the Sunday tilt between the Blues and Jets, Bouwmeester had taken the puck down the left wing boards with a head of steam. Approaching the net at a tight angle, he fired a rising shot at Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who turned the puck aside and sent it sailing toward the right wing corner. When Bouwmeester gave chase into the corner, a hard-charging Byfuglien lined him up and delivered a booming hit that sent Bouwmeester flying:
How Bouwmeester got up so easily is anyone’s guess, but that hit was hard enough that it would have put a good number of players out of commission.
Byfuglien, who did chase down the hit from what appeared to be his own blueline, was given a charging minor for the hit. In the ensuing scrum, both Byfuglien and St. Louis’ Scottie Upshall also picked up roughing minors.
The Blues got the last laugh, though, as defenseman Carl Gunnarsson scored on the power play and sealed a 4-2 victory for the Blues. St. Louis and Winnipeg will have little less than a month to stew and think about the next time the two teams meet, but you can bet both clubs will be ready to exchange some unpleasantries when they square off Nov. 16 in St. Louis.