Yandle admits Olympic snub is a ‘tough pill to swallow’


Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle didn’t try to sugarcoat his feelings about being left off of the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, as the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan reports.

“Obviously it’s a tough pill to swallow,” Yandle said on Thursday.

On the bright side, he mentioned that he’s been receiving texts of support from other players around the league, something that means a ton to him.

Of course, not every bit of commentary about the 27-year-old has been positive, as highly publicized fly-on-the-wall criticisms have been shared in stories from USA Today’s Kevin Allen and ESPN’s Scott Burnside. Yandle didn’t attempt to plead ignorance regarding those accounts, either.

“I read it,” Yandle said. “[Does it] affect me? No. Obviously people have opinions.”

“I try not to pay attention to that kind of stuff.”

In the meantime, he’ll try to channel that energy into his play for the Coyotes, who have pointed out the benefits of getting an Olympic break. It might take Yandle a while to embrace that mentality, though.

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.