The Real Story Behind “Big Buff's” Arrest

While not Blackhawks news per se, it's former Blackhawks news. And a popular former Hawk. And one I kind of love writing about, especially when it comes to popping everyone's bubble. Because I kill Christmas, y'see.

Former hulking winger, playoff hero, and now overpaid defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was arrested Wednesday night in Minnesota for being overserved on a boat on Lake Minnetonka.

The first question you'll ask is what else you're supposed to do on a boat on a lake, and it's a question for which I don't have an answer. Anyway, Buff refused a sobriety test, which doesn't tend to move things forward, and found himself in the Stoney Lonesome for a few hours.

But that's not the story. We all make mistakes, some worse than others, and no one's said that Buff was endangering anyone.

The real story is Buff's official weigh-in at the police station. He clocked in at 286. That's 40 pounds over his listed playing weight. Two weeks before camp opens. Delicious.

It's no secret I've never been a fan of Byfuglien. For a great majority of his Hawks career, he was a loaf who never played to his size and often settled for booming shots from the outside.

While saying he wasted his talents would be a tad harsh, he certainly didn't use them to the fullest. He parlayed about seven good playoff games against teams that simply had no defensemen into popularity and esteem he never deserved.

The uproar of his trade was far too much.

And it got worse when Atlanta -- now Winnipeg -- shifted him back to defense and he started piling up serious points from back there. Nevermind he was a turnstile defensively, and the second half of the year saw his offense dry up while picking up windburn from forwards going by him.

What I love most about this is that Byfuglien's loafishness popped up here after he signed his first big contract. They popped up the second half of the year in Atlanta after they signed him to a fatty (pun intended, most intended) extension. Sense a pattern?

Most likely, Buff never came close to playing at 245. But he didn't play at 286 either. And this is right before camp. This is clearly a guy who's not taking his condition seriously, and he'll find far more scrupulous eyes in Mannitoba than he did in Georgia who will wonder why a d-man being paid over $5 million a year can't be in shape. His attitude is on full display.

And another question, just how much booze did it take to make a 6-5, 286 pound experienced drinker be wobbly enough to get boat cops to notice?

Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Blackhawks. You may have seen him hocking the magazine outside the United Center at Gate 3. The program is also available for purchase online. Fels is a lifelong 'Hawks fan and he also writes for Second City Hockey .

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