NHL Week in Review (October 8-14)

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This week the Winnipeg Jets were handed a controversy that has become a bit of a common controversy in all leagues.

Dustin Byfuglien has missed time already this year with an apparent lower-body injury leaving the Jets without one of their leaders.

The reason for the missed games has been a lower-body injury that has kept him on the sidelines.

That injury is what created the controversy though as Byfuglien was in a picture alongside teammates fishing.

For some that makes no sense as Byfuglien shouldn’t be out and about if he is injured, he should be rehabbing.

By all accounts, though the injury is fairly minor and despite the big catches that the pictures showed, fishing is not really the most physical sport.

That is especially true when it comes to the fact that his injury was a lower-body injury and fishing isn’t the worst on the lower body.

Thinking about what he was doing should inform the fact that fishing is not very likely to re-aggravate an injury and keep him out longer.

It isn’t the first time that a player has been in the middle of this type of controversy whether injured or not.

For many athletes, things are pretty limited as they are mean to focus on their sport and only their sport.

Beyond that can get them in some serious trouble with their teams and the fans who question whether they are committed.

That can be a killer in sports and in the NHL it is an easy way to the end of a career as effort is valued over almost anything else in the league.

When players step out of the hockey world and begin doing other things people start to get concerned and there is some sound reasoning behind it.

Just this year in the MLB a pitcher was injured while riding dirt bikes around his property keeping him out of the lineup for months.

That’s the concern for most teams as they see the investment that is put into the players and don’t want that investment to go to waste.

The last things that owners want is to see one of their top players do something like get injured not playing the sport that they are being paid to play.

It becomes a serious concern for a lot of teams as they don’t want to see their players do much else besides play, practice and make charitable appearances that involve little to no activity.

That isn’t how things work though and it is beginning to change more every year with a new generation of players coming up.

Just like in every other league the NHL is being introduced to a new era of players that will carry the league for years.

These players are different though as they are not necessarily the head down and shut up type of generation.

This new generation of players prefers to be allowed to be themselves and show their personality more than others.hockey-sidebar

This is of course, still hockey though and even outspoken hockey players are the least outspoken athletes in North America.

Still, more of the young players are out there a lot more than any other generation in NHL history.

They are on Instagram or Twitter constantly, sharing what they are doing meaning that more people will see them.

It opens them up for more criticism when they aren’t focusing fully on the game and their job.

That is what Byfuglien will be going through and he is no stranger to criticism as a major name in the sport on a team in Canada.

People will always look to him to be the example but his personality is that of someone wanting to do things other than hockey.

There is no doubt that the game is his first love and his favourite thing to do but when doing it for the majority of the year breaks are never a bad thing/

That is what he did this week when he went fishing and he did it with his teammates on a team-building trip.

It is the type of thing that teams like to see as their players are bonding off of the ice which usually makes things better on the ice.

He might have been injured and missed time but fishing is not going to be the reason he misses any more time.

The criticism is constant in professional sports and the Jets will handle this and move on as head coach Paul Maurice didn’t seem to be put off by the trip keeping things moving along as normal.



Protests on the Ice

The National Football League has been rocked by protests since last year and things are building this season with the President of the United States firing shots at them. That has caused a lot of sports to see more protests in many different ways but hockey has remained an outlier among it all. That was until this week when Tampa Bay’s J.T. Brown rose his fist during the anthem becoming the first player to protest during the anthem. It is sure to lead to debates and has already showcased the darker side of the fan base with Brown receiving death threats after the protest.

Another Expansion

The Vegas Golden Knights have quickly become an established member of the Las Vegas scene. Part of it has been their success on the ice as one of the best teams in the league at the start of the year. The other is their reaction after the tragedy in the city only a few weeks ago and the Knights providing an outlet for many. With their success expansion is already on the docket for the NHL as they look to even out their conferences and add another western team. Rumours have already started and this week Houston became a very early favourite.

The Cap Game

The salary cap is a tricky thing for a lot of teams as it is a balancing act of trying to get the best players without breaking the bank. It can turn into a real issue though and the Minnesota Wild are experiencing that issue first hand. They are stuck with 11 forwards on the team while many carry 13. That is because they only have $200,000 in cap space making a call-up nearly impossible while Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund are sidelined. It is a tough place to be in but one that has happened before with the teams not playing the cap as well as they should.

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