It may have been a slow start for Team USA against the Czech Republic during the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championships, but it was a definitive finish.
Johnny Gaudreau finished the game with a hat trick, Jacob Trouba had four assists and goalie John Gibson stopped all 31 shots he faced in the Americans’ 7-0 win over the Czechs. Team USA will now face Team Canada in the semifinals tomorrow.
You could say that being in the preliminary “group of death” with Canada, Russia, and Slovakia helped get Team USA ready for this round, and through two periods of play against the Czechs, it felt that way. It was only 1-0 after the first, but 6-0 after 40 minutes with Riley Barber scoring both of his goals in the second.
Now this sets up a crucial game with Canada in the semis. As you’ll remember, Canada took out Team USA 2-1 during the opening round of the tournament but the stakes are a bit higher now with a spot in the gold medal game on the line. Whatever you might’ve thought of their first match-up, expect better this time around. It’s never boring between these two junior hockey powers.
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.