James Neal, Mike Commodore

Mike Commodore in for repairs, Brendan Smith called up with suspension to serve

Mike Commodore’s season in Detroit is off to a bad start as the Commodore 64 (er… 22) is headed to injured reserve with a bruised MCL and could miss up to three weeks. In his place, Brendan Smith gets the call from the AHL to take his spot. There’s a bit of a catch here, however.

Smith returns to the NHL with a five-game suspension to serve thanks to his head shot on Chicago’s Ben Smith. The Smith-on-Smith crime was also going to be punished in the AHL for Brendan as he was going to miss the first three games of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ season. Now he’ll get to tick off the games on his Shanaban while Commodore is on the shelf.

As it was for Detroit, Jakub Kindl was getting the start on the blue line in Commodore’s stead and Smith gets to have a nice view of the Red Wings games from the press box. If Smith is still around after five games and Kindl struggles on the blue line, we could see Smith get a shot at playing. Here’s to hoping he can keep his shoulders and elbows in check should he get the chance to make his NHL debut soon.

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.