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.
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.