St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks ‘admire the way Pittsburgh’s playing’


The Chicago Blackhawks know all about going on a long streak that can captivate hockey fans from all different corners of the NHL.

After all, they did go 24 straight games to begin the 2013 season without a loss in regulation time.

In the Eastern Conference, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins that are on quite a roll right now.

They’re on a 14-game winning streak, and are so far perfect in the month of March, with a Saturday afternoon game against the New York Islanders.

After a trio of trades this week that hit a peak with the addition of Jarome Iginla, have to be considered the favorites to take the Eastern Conference.

“It is a little different, it’s almost like there’s two leagues now,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We don’t see them until the Stanley Cup Final, hopefully. [But] I like to watch the Eastern Conference on TV more than I like to watch the West. It seems like everyone in the West, you play them every night, you’re more familiar with them. It’s more fun to see [the East].

“I like watching the Flyers and the Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs I grew up watching. You have to admire the way Pittsburgh’s playing, and what they’re doing to their lineup, trying to build up for a long playoff run.”


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.