Habs’ Murray suspended three games for ‘forceful’ headshot


Montreal defenseman Douglas Murray has been suspended three games for an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay’s Mike Kostka, the NHL announced on Thursday.

“Murray rises up and delivers a forceful blow to Kostka’s head, making it the main point of contact and causing a serious injury,” the league’s Department of Player Safety explained. “While we accept Murray’s claim that there was no malicious intent on this hit, he is not successful in making a full bodycheck.”

Here’s the video:

Kostka suffered a concussion on the play, and the player safety department noted that Murray had no history as a repeat offender prior to this hit.

Murray will now miss Montreal’s next three games — against Ottawa, Detroit and Chicago — and will forfeit $23,076.93 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.


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.