Mike Smith

Coyotes’ Smith wants more severe penalty for goalie interference


Coyotes netminder Mike Smith thinks the NHL should take a cue from the NFL and do more to protect goalies.

“They really solidified that in football when they brought in the rule of roughing the passer, and it’s a huge penalty for your team when that happens,” Smith said, per azcentral. “I personally don’t think the penalty is severe enough for a goaltender interference call.”

Goalies that have suffered injuries upon being bowled over by hard-charging skaters — like, say, Montreal’s Carey Price — might agree.

If the sole goal is to better protect the players, Smith may be onto something.

That being said, does the NFL only protect quarterbacks (and receivers, for that matter) for the good of the players’ health? Or, is there another reason for it? Like, more points being scored.

Follow-up question: would protecting goalies through tougher interference penalties increase scoring? Because we’d argue it would do the opposite, by making skaters more hesitant to crash the crease.

Not that goalies shouldn’t be protected, but obviously there are potential consequences to any rule change that need to be considered.

Related: Kadri suspended three games for running Backstrom

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.