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Dustin Byfuglein: The Difference Maker

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IJune 9, 2010

CHICAGO - JUNE 06:  Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Chicago Blackhawks scores a power play goal in the second period against Brian Boucher #33 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the United Center on June 6, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

If there has been one constant throughout the Stanley Cup Finals for the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s been the play of left winger Dustin Byfuglein.  This team does well when Byfuglien is on his game, making plays and making a difference for the Blackhawks game in and game out. 

So what makes him so special?  Let’s take a look at what makes him such a difference maker and what the Hawks need him to do in Game Six to get a win and earn the right to be called NHL Champions.

Looking at Byfuglein, the first thing you notice is his size.  He is one of the bigger players out there on the ice (at any one time) and uses that size to get in position to make goals, position himself to help defend against them when the opposing team is attacking the goal.  Having a big body guy like that really helps and is one of the reasons why the Hawks are in the position that they are in right now.

Anyone who watched Game Five knows what getting a lot of contact on the opposing team’s primary offensive (or defensive weapon) can do. 

We watched as Byfuglein got some big hits on the Flyer’s Chris Pronger effectively taking him out of the game by knocking him off his rhythm and making it a much easier win for the Blackhawks.  Prior to Game Five, Pronger had been wreaking havoc with the Blackhawks but he was tamed in Game Five.

Byfuglein, as proved in Game Five, is also a pretty good offensive player and can score when given the opportunity.  His two goals, two assists and four shots on goal during that game helped to lift the Blackhawks to a victory and get them one game away from winning the coveted Stanley Cup.

Listening to the Chicago sports radio stations during the hockey season, I didn’t hear that much about Byfuglein.  Most of their talk centered on players like Patrick Kane, Kris Versteeg and Jonathan Towes and not so much about Byfuglein.

I knew a lot more about other Blackhawks players heading into the Stanley Cup Final and didn’t know hardly a thing about Byfuglien and what he could do to help win games.  Needless to say now I am fully aware of just how good he is and what he means to the Blackhawks.

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It’s safe to say that the Blackhawks wouldn’t be in the position that they are in without the kind of play that they have been getting from Byfuglein.  He is a difference maker as a key piece of the offensive and defensive puzzle for the Blackhawks.

Now, as we prepare to see Chicago go for the Stanley Cup in Game Six, we will know that they have a player like Byfuglein there to help them get closer to their the ultimate goal of being NHL Champions. 

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