November 29, 2010

Big Buff's Big Night against the Less-Big, Bad Bruins

It's not often that I'm wrong (or at least it's not often that I admit I'm wrong), but in this case it's clear that when the decision was made to move Dustin Byfuglien seemingly permanently to defense the Atlanta Thrashers knew what they were doing. At the time it was clear to me that after he scored 16 points in 16 games in the playoffs last year, starting with the series against the Vancouver Canucks, he was made to be a power forward. Clearly he's much more versatile than anyone outside the Thrashers was willing to admit. 

While proof to that effect has come all season-long (25 points in 24 games to lead all defensemen, including nine goals (also first) and five game-winners to lead the entire league), the exclamation point on his case for league-wide respect and superstar status came on Sunday night when he netted one goal and three assists for a season-high four-point game. It wasn't a new career-high, but it did tie his current one, as he had two goals and two assists in a game in 2008-2009 as a Chicago Blackhawks against the Minnesota Wild. The season before, he had a hat trick and one helper against the Phoenix Coyotes one game, as well.

It's getting to the point where anybody who ever doubted him is in turn doubting their own judgment, because it's there's no way around admitting that this guy, given the ice time, can put up big numbers. From a personal standpoint, he's singlehandedly forced me to do a lot of soul searching. Of course, I found none to speak of, but can still give credit where credit is due. I don't think he will ever win the Norris Trophy, for the same reason that Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green won't, but never before could people speak of the two in the same sentence without giggling uncontrollably. Of course, the fact that people call him Buffy maybe contributed to that, which is another good sign. Tough as she may be, no one wants a nickname based on a female television character. Big Buff suits him better.

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