Opportunity booms: Habs promote Blake Geoffrion


Just about any player carries pressure with him when he puts on that beautiful Montreal Canadiens sweater. Still, it’s say to say that Blake Geoffrion will probably feel the boom of fireworks more than most when he makes his Habs debut tomorrow.

The Canadiens colors run deep for him and – let’s be honest – this an incredibly cool moment. Geoffrion is the first fourth-generation player in NHL history and a member of each generation spent at least some time for the Montreal Canadiens:

Howie Morenz (great-grandfather) – Won three Hart Trophies, died at age 34 due to complications from a broken leg suffered during his final NHL game.

Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion (grandfather) – Popularized the slap shot, won six Stanley Cups and one Hart Trophy.

Dan Geoffrion (father) – Played 32 of 111 career NHL games with Montreal.

So to review: his grandfather and great-grandfather both had their numbers retired, with Morenz’s  No. 7 being the first Habs sweater to receive that honor. (At least his dad eased the pressure a bit by not being a Hall-of-Famer, though.)

Geoffrion’s lineage makes it a truly special story, but Blake has a chance to make a mark of his own. It’s not like he’s just some guy with a famous last name, either. The Nashville Predators made him the 56th choice (second round) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft before packaging the young player in the Hal Gill deal.

It’s a great story that could get even more fascinating if he makes an impact in more direct hockey terms. At 24 years old, he still has plenty of time to do just that.

(Meanwhile, Louis Leblanc was sent down to the AHL. Judging by his last name, he probably knows his fair share of scrutiny in Montreal, too …)

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.