Brooks Laich

Laich back for Caps tonight


It appears Brooks Laich will make his season debut for the Capitals tonight when they take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

(Update: Laich will indeed play.)

According to the Washington Post, Laich was skating on the Caps’ fourth line with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle at this morning’s pre-game skate.

Laich has been sidelined with a groin injury that he suffered in November while playing in Europe during the lockout.

While the 29-year-old will likely be eased back into action, his return is good news for the Caps, who are entering what captain Alex Ovechkin has called their “biggest week.”

Washington plays the red-hot Penguins tonight, then has back-to-back games Thursday and Friday in Winnipeg, and finishes the trip Sunday at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.

“You know what? It’s our season right now,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “We’ve got to win games. We talked collectively as a group that we’ve got to show up for work every night. They’re tough games and we need them.”

UPDATE: To make room for Laich on the active roster, the Caps have put defenseman Tom Poti (back) on IR.

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.

Leafs claim Corrado from Canucks, waive Panik

Frank Corrado
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.

Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.

Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.

With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.

Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.

In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.