Jets looking for flow minus Byfuglien vs. Sharks

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The Dustin Byfuglien saga has taken another turn.

The Winnipeg Jets’ suspended defenseman reportedly underwent ankle surgery last week, with recovery expected to take several months.

“From our situation, nothing’s really changed with the news with respect to him having surgery,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Thursday in San Jose, where the Jets will face the Sharks on Friday night. “We’re aware he was contemplating it. When we said we weren’t directly involved, we weren’t directly involved. But we knew he was contemplating that.

“As far as what remains for the future, it’s something that we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Byfuglien, 34, was granted a personal leave from the team at the beginning of training camp. He was later suspended without pay by the team to give the Jets salary cap relief.

“It’s a complicated issue, it’s a real complicated issue when it comes to answering any questions that you might have,” Cheveldayoff said. “I’m here to speak but there’s not much I can enlighten you with as it stands right now.”

Without Byfuglien, the Jets (6-7-0) have struggled. They’re coming off a 7-4 loss Tuesday at Anaheim.

“We’re good and we’re not good. It’s kind of every other game,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “Just some areas of the ice that we need to tighten up on. You’re giving up breakaways and odd-man rushes all over the ice, that’s what it’s going to look like.

“They scored a couple breakaway goals, a faceoff goal, things that shouldn’t happen in a hockey game at this level.”

The Jets will be without center Adam Lowry against the Sharks, as he completes his two-game suspension for his hit on Calgary’s Oliver Kylington in Saturday’s Heritage Classic.

Fellow forward Patrik Laine missed Tuesday’s game after being injured in practice, and his status remains in question.

The Sharks (4-8-1) return home after a five-game Eastern trip in which they went 1-3-1, losing their past three while being outscored 14-4. The last stop of the trip resulted in a 5-1 loss at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

“We didn’t execute. We didn’t make plays. We didn’t spend any time in the offensive zone. It may have looked like effort, but that was just us getting caught out on long shifts and guys were tired,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “We had some shifts when they were in our zone for two minutes. Obviously not good enough — not close to good enough. We’re definitely going through a tough time right now.”

Forward Patrick Marleau played his 1,500th game with the Sharks last week in Toronto, where he spent the past two seasons before returning to San Jose.

The 40-year-old Marleau has six points (two goals, four assists) in nine games this season.

“He’s just been a stabilizer for us,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “We were stumbling around a little bit through four games and he stabilized our line there with Couture.

“He can still skate, he can still create offense, he plays the right way. He’s a great example for young guys on how to how to play the right way and play winning hockey. He’s meant a lot in a lot of different areas.”

–Field Level Media

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