Ryan Callahan, Michael Del Zotto

Rangers’ Ryan Callahan, Mike Del Zotto still banged up


After losing three games in a row and going 1-3-1 in their last five games, Brandon Dubinsky said that the New York Rangers “stopped the bleeding” with a 4-3 OT win against the New York Islanders on Sunday. Unfortunately, some of their wounds are still showing.

Heart-and-soul captain Ryan Callahan (foot) and offensive blueliner Michael Del Zotto (hip) missed practice today, raising concern that both players won’t be available for tomorrow’s match against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Naturally every point matters, but you’d be naive to say that Tuesday’s contest is more important than a match that could alter the outlook of the Atlantic Division on Thursday. The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently just four points behind the Rangers and the two teams will face off on March 15.

Not having Callahan’s versatile, hard-nosed game and MDZ’s offensive prowess could make for some nervous times for a team that once seemed almost predestined for the Atlantic crown.

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.