Winnipeg Jets defensman Dustin Byfuglien avoided a suspension for his shove on Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry after the latter scored a goal during Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series on April 20. Game officials assessed Byfuglien with a two-minute penalty for the incident. The Ducks won in overtime, 5-4, to earn a 3-0 series advantage. He later did a Marshawn Lynch when he faced the media by repeating the same line over and over again.
It looks like Dustin Byfuglien is following in Marshawn Lynch's footsteps.
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Byfuglien, the Winnipeg Jets defenseman, faced the media on Tuesday afternoon. However, all he said was "we've got to stick together as a team" whenever a member of the press asked him a question, per The Winnipeg Free Press' Ed Tait.
Questions ranged from "Take us inside the room and how you get ready again for Game 4" to "What happened with Corey Perry after the goal?" per Tait.
Byfuglient remained defiant, coming up with the same "we've got to stick together as a team" response, per The Winnipeg Free Press.
The Winnipeg Sun's Paul Friesen says the media asked Byfuglien a total of nine questions on Tuesday. He gave them nine very similar answers.
"He's not perfect and sometimes things aren't right," Jets head coach Paul Maurice told Tait when asked to comment on Byfuglien's remarks. "And that's Dustin and we love him."
Maurice went into greater detail in his defense of Byfuglien when he spoke with Tait's colleague, Tim Campbell on Tuesday:
"I think part of (the perception) is fairly accurate, not your assessment, but he's got an awesome sense of humor. You won't like that. Don't underestimate the investment the players make. Here's where i'm losing the argument before it even starts.
"You're going to find one of the 650 other NHL players would have handled that nicely and be contrite and everybody would have thought that was good. He's a very, very competitive man and not particularly happy with the result. More than anything else, he wants to win badly.
"So he doesn't like the fact that he has to speak to the media today. And I'm readiing the Twitter pop-ups and, 'The guy makes so much money he should be happy to stand in front of the media and talk to them.'
"And there's a certain dynamic between media and some players that you feel he has the absolute obligation to come out and answer for everything because of the gift and the joy that is to play professional sports and the amount of money a man would make.
"And at some point, as a competitive man, he has the right to come out here and say that. I want you to fully appreciate the number of F-bombs that he dropped on you in the back of his brain.
"Out of the sense of civility, he's a kind and civil and giving man so the fact that he didn't tell you how he really felt, I think is maturity."
Byfuglien's repetitive answer is reminiscent of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's "I'm just here so I won't get fined" remark during Super Bowl XLIX Media Day last February.
Three weeks later, Lynch filled out some paperwork to trademark his line that went viral on social media, per The Seattle Times' Mike Baker. He successfully applied for a trademark for his "Beast Mode" nickname when he concluded his rookie season with the Buffalo Bills in 2008.
As for Byfuglien, he managed to escape a suspension for a Game 3 controversy against the visiting Anaheim Ducks on April 20.
USA TODAY's Mike Brehm reported on April 21 that the NHL's Department of Player Safety won't issue a suspension on Byfuglien after he shoved Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry during Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series on Monday.
After Perry scored a goal to make it 2-1, Byfuglien skated from behind and gave him a hard shove, sending him tumbling to the ice. Game officials gave him a two-minute minor for roughing, per Brehm.
SportsNet also confirmed Byfuglien escaping the incident without any suspension.
Both the USA TODAY and SportsNet updates say the NHL suspended Byfuglien for four games after he cross-checked New York Rangers center J.T. Miller on April 2.
The 30-year-old Byfuglien, a nine-year NHL veteran, has amassed 133 goals and 211 assists for 344 points in 597 career regular-season games for the Chicago Blackhawks, the then-Atlanta Thrashers and the Winnipeg Jets, per ESPN stats.
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