There was the possibility that the Flyers could be going without a pair of key players in tonight’s Game 1 against Pittsburgh, but that won’t be the case because hockey players are tougher than you are.
Forward Danny Briere and defenseman Niklas Grossmann will both suit up for the Flyers tonight the team announced after this morning’s skate. Briere is a key offensive player for the Flyers while Grossmann is a needed presence on defense to try and slow down the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal.
The team will be hoping Briere’s contributions can be big as he’s had a rough go of it all season long thanks to nagging injuries. Grossmann, meanwhile, will give the Flyers a bit more of a defensive edge along the blue line.
One move that’s less surprising is Ilya Brygalov getting the start in goal for Philly. Bryzgalov missed the last few games of the season thanks to a chip fracture in his foot and some thought Sergei Bobrovsky might get the call in Game 1. After seeing the Penguins score easily on Bobrovsky in the season finale, Bryzgalov getting the call is no shock. While Bryzgalov didn’t participate in this morning’s skate, he said he was just resting for tonight.
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.
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.