Despite a number of key injuries, the San Jose Sharks have managed to keep in the hunt for the Pacific Division.
With the National Hockey League on its Olympic break, the Sharks currently sit second in the division, seven points back of the Anaheim Ducks with a game in hand and the stretch drive about to begin.
Along the way, the Sharks have seen two key members of their scoring attack fall to injury – Logan Couture (a hand injury) and Tomas Hertl (a knee injury suffered on a Dustin Brown major penalty for kneeing). And there have been plenty of others, too. That includes those in the supporting class, like Tyler Kennedy and Raffi Torres, who has yet to play a game this season due a torn ACL that required surgery in September.
Yet the Sharks have managed to rise above three other teams in the division and keep the Ducks in their sights. That has left the team’s general manager Doug Wilson quick to compliment his players and coaching staff.
“To me, the players and coaches have done an excellent job in this type of season and schedule, to get through some of the challenges that we faced,” Wilson told the San Jose Mercury News.
“It’s not excuse making. It’s kind of the reality.”
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.
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.