Florida Panthers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Watch: Penguins’ Niskanen delivers clean, hard body check


There’s the right way to hit, and the wrong way. The debate continues, but Pittsburgh Penguins blue liner Matt Niskanen delivered a textbook open-ice body check to Florida Panthers 19-year-old rookie Jonathan Huberdeau.

Cutting into the Penguins zone, Huberdeau was stood up just inside the blue line by Niskanen.

Niskanen also scored the winning goal in a 3-1 victory over the Panthers Friday.

The debate about what constitutes a clean hit or one worthy of a suspension has picked up in recent days, particularly after Colorado Avalanche forward Mark Olver did not have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL following a hard hit to St. Louis Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has spoken out about the hit on Tarasenko, calling it “a blow to the head.”

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.