Jeremy Roenick wears his emotions on his sleeve.
On his XM satellite radio show earlier this week he didn’t shy away from taking shots at Thrashers GM Rick Dudley for the decision to move former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien back to defense:
“That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Dustin Byfuglien as a defenseman. I would love to play against Dustin Byfuglien as a defenseman. I would turn him inside out, left, right and center every single time. This kid, he made his living in front of the net scoring goals during the playoffs for the Chicago Blackhawks. Why on earth would you put him back as a defenseman? This kid is strong, he’s powerful, he’s a great skater. Put him in front of the net as a forward. That’s where you want him to do all his damage. Playing him as a defenseman? Maybe that’s why the Thrashers are 0-3 in preseason. Maybe that’s why nobody comes to watch their games. It’s crazy. What are they thinking? They already have a GM that doesn’t know the game whatsoever. But, hey, that’s just my opinion. Like me or hate me if you don’t [agree]. I’m not a big fan of Atlanta for a lot of reasons but the fact that they’re going to play Dustin Byfuglien [as a defenseman], my goodness gracious.”
Tell us how you really feel.
In the playoffs with the Stanley Cup winning Hawks, Byfuglien had 11 goals and a total of 16 points.
But he was drafted as a defenseman in 2003 and at 6-4 and 257 pounds “Big Buff” could be more of an asset on the blue line for the Thrashers…and still bring some points to the table. I don’t see the move as that stupid.
It will be interesting to see how Byfuglien does on D and if the Thrashers won’t get those 11 goals some other way. It’s not like coach Craig Ramsay can’t adjust things later on in the season as he sees fit.
Dudley explained the move at training camp:
“I know Dustin likes to play defense,” he said. “That was one thing.… Denis Savard needed Dustin up front and he moved to forward and did pretty well, obviously. He’s an inordinately talented guy. I won’t deny that. He’s very effective. I once had this conversation with Savvy at the end of one of year. He said, ‘See, Duds, he’s a forward. He’s got 19 goals as a forward.’ But I said, ‘What if he had a 15-goal season as a defenseman?’ Good question.”
Good question indeed.
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)