“As long as we stick together as a team, we will be all right,” Byfuglien said.
He said it again and again during his media session at MTS Centre. Even when asked about hitting the Ducks' Corey Perry from behind in Game 3 on Monday, apparently having escaped supplemental discipline.
On top of it, he was a minus-three in Game 3 and has yet to record a point in the series, which the Ducks lead, 3-0.
The give-and-take between reporters and Jets Coach Paul Maurice was far more fascinating. Maurice defended his player with moments of professiorial logic and some humor.
“Here’s where I’m losing this argument before it even starts,” Maurice said. “You’re going to find one of the 650 other NHL players who would have handled that nicely, and contrite and everybody would have thought that was good.
“He’s a very, very competitive man and not particularly happy about the result. More than anything else, wants to win badly, did everything we asked him to do. So he doesn’t like the fact that he has to speak to the media today.
“And I’m reading the Twitter pop-ups – ‘Guy makes so much money, he should be happy to stand in front of the media and talk to them.’ There’s a certain dynamic there between media and some players that you feel that 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 that a man would make."
Maurice maintained it was a civil approach by his player.
“The fact that he didn't tell you how he really felt, I think, is mature. I'm not winning this argument,” he said. “I'll get killed for that. I don't care. There's been lots of days that I've come out and wanted to tell you what I'd like to invite all of you to do. It has nothing to do with you personally. It's just, you're not in a good mood that day, you don't want to talk about it.
“Somebody 3,000 miles away has told you you have to do this and somebody's getting fined and we might, but he did do what he had to do. He spoke to the media. You didn't like the answer. He'll probably get over that."