It’s time to start putting Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom in bubble wrap. During tonight’s 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus the Red Wings not only lost Jimmy Howard during the game due to a bruised knee but now they’ll be without Tomas Holmstrom for an indefinite amount of time after breaking his hand during the game.
The soon-to-be 38 year-old Holmstrom has had a quiet year with 11 goals and 11 assists but with injuries to Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, and Mike Modano up front getting Holmstrom’s net presence and goal-scoring touch in the lineup was necessary to the Wings offense. Now, it’ll be up to Todd Bertuzzi and Jiri Hudler to increase their offensive output and for role players like Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader to do a bit more than what they’re normally asked.
For Detroit, they’ve been through a brutal stretch like this with injuries before. Last season, the Wings spent most of the season playing without a full lineup only to finally get everyone healthy in late February and early March. The Wings stormed back to life to go from teetering on the brink of missing the playoffs to the fifth seed overall in the West. The Wings are currently in first place in the Central Division and second in the Western Conference. They’ll get their mettle tested once again with this host of injuries up front as well as with injuries to Brad Stuart and Chris Osgood.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.