Dustin Byfuglien Scares Me, and He Should Scare You, Too

Bob JankowskiContributor IMarch 31, 2008

Unless you are living in or around Chicago, obsessed with hockey, or are of Canadian heritage, you probably don't know him.

Before the 2007-2008 National Hockey League season began, Columbus' Jared Boll and Los Angeles' Raitis Ivanans probably didn't know him, either.  

They know him now.

His name is Dustin Byfuglien, and he skates for the Chicago Blackhawks. Consider yourself lucky.

In the Hawks' first meeting with the Kings at the United Center, Ivanans didn't have the luxury of a formal introduction. Unless you consider Byfuglien applying his massive shoulder directly to Ivanans' jaw to be formal.

In the words of Kings play-by-play announcer Bob Miller, "He went flying."

At least Boll had the opportunity to get a few words in when the Hawks visited Nationwide Arena this past November. Shortly thereafter, Byfuglien decided to direct several mammoth punches into the Blue Jackets' forward's cranial region.

Around these parts, he's known as Big Buff. And, much to the dismay of every NHL player not on the Blackhawks roster, the above incidents are not uncommon (just ask Eric Brewer).

At 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 246 pounds, he is a beast. A behemoth. A monstrosity. And with 18 goals on the season, he can score, too. 

Beginning the season as a defenseman, Blackhawks' coach Denis Savard eventually converted the Minnesota native to forward. Regardless of where he's played, Big Buff has been demolishing opponents all season long.

Byfuglien has settled nicely into Chicago's top line, alongside smallish rookies Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. On most nights, he can be found savagely punishing anyone who has the ill judgment to get too close to the Hawks' most prized possessions, otherwise planted firmly in front of the opposition's net. 

Sadly, it looks as though Chicago's season will end when they travel to Detroit to play their final regular season game April 6. Being four points out of the eighth playoff spot with a mere three games left, the Hawks are in need of a miracle to qualify for post-season play. Breathe easy, NHL, you are safe for now.

But someday, Big Buff will return. And, when he does, he will continue his reign of terror.