Rangers hold players-only meeting after 4-1 loss to Caps


The New York Rangers held a players-only meeting after the Washington Capitals beat them 4-1 on Sunday, discussing a lack of desperation and urgency, ESPN’s Katie Strang reports.

Brad Richards told Strang that the team needs to start “getting uncomfortable.”

“It’s getting old,” Richards said.

The Rangers fell to Philipp Grubauer, who stopped 30 out of 31 shots to earn his first career NHL win. The Rangers are now on a two-game losing streak and have been middling since mid-November. They’re 6-7-1 in their last 14 games since Nov. 12.

Head coach Alain Vigneault didn’t seem too moved about the meeting after the game – saying that the Rangers’ compete level fits that of a .500 team – as New York Newsday’s Steve Zipay reports.

“You can talk all you want behind closed doors,” Vigneault said. “It’s the 200 by 85 that games are decided.”

For Ryan McDonagh, failing in front of fans at Madison Square Garden cut a little deeper.

“The crowd had nothing to stand for tonight,” McDonagh said. “And that’s something we’re ashamed of.”

The Rangers play their next seven games at home, so they have a lot to gain or lose in turning things around after that meeting.

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.