Chatter from ex-Hawk Dustin Byfuglien good for some chuckles
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter November 6, 2013 9:44PM
Updated: November 6, 2013 11:27PM
Dustin Byfuglien leads the Winnipeg Jets in assists, blocked shots and penalty minutes. He also leads in words per minute.
‘‘There’s a lot of talking on the ice every shift that you’re out there against Buff,’’ Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said before Wednesday’s game. ‘‘He’ll try and get in your head and make it look like he’s serious. I’d say most of the time he’s not. He finds a way to keep it light.’’
Toews mentioned one scrum in the third period last Saturday in Winnipeg when Byfuglien tried to punch Marian Hossa in the chest but instead caught Hossa’s stick, which hit Toews in the head.
‘‘We were all kind of laughing about it,’’ Toews said. ‘‘I’ll have to get a couple licks in on him, maybe.’’
Wednesday was only the second time Byfuglien and Jets captain Andrew Ladd played at the United Center since they were traded shortly after the Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 (the first time was Oct. 13, 2011). It also was Michael Frolik’s first time back in Chicago since he was dealt four days after the Hawks won the Cup again in June.
‘‘It’s special, and I will remember this place, I think, for the rest of my life,’’ Frolik said.
In his two appearances, Brad Mills looked like he might be the answer to the Hawks’ season-long quest to replace Frolik on the penalty kill. Now it looks like Mills could be out for weeks with an injured right ankle or foot. He was severely limping around the dressing room Wednesday, and coach Joel Quenneville said he could be out ‘‘for a while.’’
Michal Handzus is still skating on his own but has not been cleared to practice yet. Defenseman Michael Kostka is still ‘‘a ways away’’ from returning from his right ankle/foot injury.
After facing nine Eastern Conference teams in their first 13 games, the Hawks are in the midst of a stretch of 18 straight games against Western foes. That includes the seven-city, 13-day circus trip starting Nov. 19 in Colorado.
‘‘We’ll have a pretty good assessment of where we’re at at the end of it,’’ Quenneville said.