Red Wings rule Pavel Datsyuk out of final two preseason games

The natural instinct is to assume that preseason games don’t matter. It’s all about perspective, though. Prospects who hope to make the jump to the NHL and veterans attempting to avoid involuntary retirement must treat each exhibition as a golden opportunity.

But yes, for the most part, players in their prime just need to get their feet wet a bit. Detroit Red Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk doesn’t really have any new linemates to worry about and he certainly should be well-acquainted with Mike Babcock’s system. For that reason, the team decided to pull him from today’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and tomorrow’s contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rotoworld states that his injury (listed as a back problem by Detroit) is “not considered too serious.” With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if Datsyuk appears in the Red Wings’ season opening game against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 7 at Joe Louis Arena. From the looks of things, the only real sad part is that he won’t wear number 24 in tribute to Ruslan Salei for another night.

Naturally, these situations can change over nearly a week of rest and practice, so we’ll keep our eyes open for updates regarding his condition. It doesn’t sound like something that Red Wings fans and fans of the sport as a whole should be considered about, but stay tuned.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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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.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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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.