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Dustin Byfuglien currently rehabbing ankle as he inches closer towards reunion with Jets

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It’s been awhile since we’ve updated you about the bizarre Dustin Byfuglien saga, but we’ve finally got some news for you.

The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the veteran defenceman is currently rehabbing a nagging ankle injury, and keeping in touch with the team during the entire process as he recovers from surgery.

The news signals that he is now itching to mend fences and rejoin the team. As of now, he remains suspended without pay.

“To our understanding, he has progressed to the stage of doing rehab. However, his status with the team remains unchanged,” said the Jets in a statement.

“He is doing rehab at an outside clinic. He is still under suspension.”

The 34-year old has been suspended by the Jets for the entire 2019/2020 season after failing to report to training camp despite being considered healthy enough to do so. Reports emerged this summer that Byfuglien had fallen out of love with the game of hockey, and wanted to spend some time away from the team to assess his playing future. He apparently hid the severity of his ankle injury from them.

The decision to suspend him has come under scrutiny, and even resulted in the NHLPA filing a grievance against the team last month.

If he does return, it is expected that the two sides could undergo an arbitration process to determine his pay, cap hit and other salary related complications.

The Minneapolis native had spent the previous nine seasons with the franchise, dating back to their final season in Atlanta. Over a span of 609 combined games, he has posted 122 goals, 294 assists, 1376 hits and a plus-7 rating.

He was set to enter year four of the five-year, $38 million contract extension he signed back in February 2016.

Hockey

NHL looking at 8-9 cities that can accommodate “a dozen or so teams” in order to resume season

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The National Hockey League is working tirelessly to get everything back running again. And with those efforts have come a lot of possible scenarios.

According to commissioner Gary Bettman, the league has looked deeply into approximately eight to nine different hub cities that can host at least twelve teams at a time in a single location.

“We have been working very hard since we took the pause on March 12 to make sure that whatever the timing is, whatever the sequencing is, whatever physical ability we have in terms of locations to play, that we’re in a position to execute any or all of those options. There is still a great deal of uncertainty.” said Bettman while speaking at a digital keynote interview with Leaders Week on Monday.

There is still no timetable for when the league will resume.

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AHL

Leafs sign forward Adam Brooks to two-year extension

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The Toronto Maple Leafs locked up a depth player to a multi-year deal on Thursday.

The team announced they have signed forward Adam Brooks to a two-year, two-way contract extension that carries an average annual value of $725,000 at the NHL level.

The 24-year old, who was selected 92nd overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, had spent the majority of the 2019/2020 campaign with the team’ AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies, but did appear in seven games with the Leafs. During that span, he posted three assists and a plus-1 rating.

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Hockey

NHL commissioner expresses optimism that the season will resume

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Hockey fans have finally been given some optimism.

With a lot still to be determined about the future of professional sports in North America, the NHL’s commissioner is confident that things are heading into the right direction.

Speaking at a virtual town hall via the San Jose Sharks earlier this week, Gary Bettman explained why he is optimistic about the NHL season resuming.

“States are reopening, cities are reopening…And if we do the right things, I think we’ll be able to finish the season.” said Bettman.

Healthy and safety is the top priority for players and franchises, but there are also other details that need to be hashed out for an NHL comeback to be realistic.

“We would like to bring a conclusion to this season…It’s got to be fair, it’s got to have integrity, and if we have to do it over the summer on some modified basis, then we’ll do it on that basis.” added Bettman.

As for straight up cancelling the season, well don’t count on that.

“Canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”

The league has been shutdown since March 12th due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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