Dustin Byfuglien is ideal for the meme age. The huge Winnipeg Jets defenseman has already been gif-ed a number of occasions in these playoffs and after Game three towards Vegas, it occurred once more.
Big Buff, as he’s precisely recognized, pulled each Tomas Nosek and Colin Miller off a pile-up on the similar time in an try to assist his scrumming Jets teammates. It wasn’t even the primary occasion Byfuglien has grabbed two opponents without delay on this post-season, as he did it once more Nashville, too. Behold the glory.
Dustin Byfuglien is the NHL’s best bouncer pic.twitter.com/kdedKWIQvn
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 17, 2018
I imply, it’s humorous, nevertheless it’s additionally fairly spectacular. Nosek weighs 210 kilos, whereas Miller weighs 196. That’s a hell of a elevate for one man sporting skates. Winnipeg has seen many heroes in these playoffs to date, from Mark Scheifele to Connor Hellebuyck and Paul Stastny. But Byfuglien has been an engine, a participant who has used his Stanley Cup championship expertise with Chicago and introduced it again to the fore, charging up the ice, unleashing bomb photographs and wrecking opponents in collisions, whether or not or not he was the initiator or not.
He’s additionally a enjoyable participant to have a look at when it comes to evolution. In phrases of top-end gamers, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound goliath is admittedly solely rivaled by the taller Zdeno Chara in terms of dimension. I’m undecided if anybody is stronger than Chara, however for Byfuglien to rise up the ice as shortly as he does, let’s acknowledge that he’s not just a few giant dude with a heavy shot. Toss in his character and it’s arduous to image one other participant like Byfuglien coming alongside, however we must always get used to large hockey gamers coming round extra typically.
Sure, the sport is quicker than ever, however the sport is getting extra athletes than it ever has, too. Part of that is as a result of rising world nature of the sport and the unfold of hockey all through the United States. Now, Byfuglien was virtually pre-ordained to be a hockey participant: he hails from Roseau, Minnesota, a small city with an enormous ardour for the sport. Neal Broten and his brothers Paul and Aaron all got here from Roseau, as does Aaron Ness, who performed for each Washington and Hershey this 12 months.
But Auston Matthews very effectively might have been a baseball participant had he been raised 20 years earlier in Arizona. And with every passing 12 months, it turns into extra widespread to see children from Arizona, Florida and California earn entry to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. In phrases of sheer dimension, we are going to proceed to see outliers. In this summer season’s draft, for instance, you’ve obtained 6-foot-7, 218-pound Jachym Kondelik from USHL Muskegon obtainable. OHL Ottawa’s Kevin Bahl is already 6-foot-6, 231 kilos; how a lot do you suppose these children will weigh as soon as they’ve had a pair extra years within the health club, placing extra muscle on their frames?
Even although Byfuglien doesn’t combat fairly often (which is sensible, given how beneficial he’s to the Jets when he’s on the ice), it’s not arduous to see that bear energy of his and surprise what would occur in case you had a time machine. I do know some of us prefer to wax rhapsodic about outdated time hockey, however let’s be actual: Big Buff might snap Eddie Shore in two. Which is my approach of claiming that the phrase “they don’t make hockey players like they used to” is wholly inaccurate, except you’re utilizing it as a praise. It’s past apparent that immediately’s NHLers are extra elite than ever, however while you toss within the sheer power and expertise that Byfuglien can reveal, even when he’s doing one thing unorthodox like pulling dudes into the air, it all actually comes into focus.