The Detroit Red Wings can only hope that this is not a sign of things to come.
In their first game without defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart, the Red Wings suffered a crushing 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Not only were they unable to stop the Blues’ attack, but they couldn’t get anything done at the other end of the ice. Jaroslav Halak was only forced to turn aside 14 shots to earn his first shutout of the season.
It didn’t help matters that Detroit ran into penalty troubles throughout the game and were particularly ineffective when it came to special teams. The Blues managed to score four times with the man advantage while Detroit conceded a shorthanded goal after the St. Louis Blues’ David Perron was handed two minutes for hooking.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland seemed to downplay expectations when he conceded that they might not make the playoffs this season. That would end the Red Wings 21 season postseason appearance streak, which is one of the longest in the history of the game.
Really the only good news for Detroit tonight is that this was just Game 1. They still have plenty of time to turn things around. If not, it will be a painful season for Detroit and a new experience for a generation of fans that have grown up during the Red Wings’ extended dynasty.
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.