Dustin Brown

Kings captain Brown worried L.A. will forget about hockey


Hey, remember this?

It’s been more than six months since the Los Angeles Kings won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, momentarily becoming the biggest sports story in a city with a lot of sports stories to choose from.

But hockey isn’t the hot topic anymore in L.A. That would be the slumping Lakers. Or maybe the streaking Clippers. Or perhaps it’s the Angels, who just signed Josh Hamilton.

Definitely not hockey though.

Naturally, Kings captain Dustin Brown is worried the NHL may be blowing a great opportunity.

“At the end of the day, it’s unfortunate timing for a lockout,” Brown told ESPN.com. “I mean, lockouts are always unfortunate but, considering our market in California, it’s really hard to get momentum. And to lose that momentum due to a lockout is frustrating.”

Nobody can say for certain how the lockout will affect business in markets where hockey isn’t No. 1 (or even No. 5 or No. 6). If the season can be saved, the damage may be minimal.

In the meantime, Steve Nash is hoping to practice next week.

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.