Tootoo Miller

Trotz on Tootoo-Miller hit: “Tootoo was trying to do the right thing”


Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz has spoken out about the hit Jordin Tootoo laid on Ryan Miller — a hit that earned the Preds forward a two-game suspension.

“My biggest disappointment in the whole thing is I really thought that a guy like Jordin Tootoo was trying to do the right thing, and not run into Miller,” Trotz told The Tennessean. “What he was trying to do was make a hockey play and not run into Miller.”

Trotz’s comments reiterate what Tootoo has maintained since bowling over Miller — the game wasn’t out of hand, there was no intent to injure and he did his best to avoid contact (the attempt to avoid contact was something NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan mentioned in his video.)

“I obviously did my best to jump out of [Miller’s] way,” Tootoo said. “When you’re going that fast and you get a little nudge from your back right on your hips, in that split second it changes a lot of momentum. I tried to leap out of the way. If I wanted to bury [Miller], my feet would be planted and I would be in a hockey stance.”

Trotz did say Tootoo’s reputation for dirty play and the timing of the hit — it was Miller’s first game back after missing eight games with a concussion from the Milan Lucic incident — probably played a role in the suspension.

“I wouldn’t say Jordin’s an angel. He’s taken some runs over the years over guys,” Trotz said. “But in the last couple of years his game is refined a little bit. He still plays hard and he still bumps into people and what have you, but I wouldn’t say he goes out of his way to hurt people.”

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.