Consider this the preview to tonight's preview.
Remember Jean-Francios Berube? The goalie the Islanders picked up from the Kings off waivers before the season started when Jaroslav Halak was hurt? The guy who played pretty well in his one appearance of the year, a 4-1 loss on the road to the defending Stanley Cup champions in which he was basically the only Islander to show up? He's the guy who was loaned to Bridgeport for conditioning, then immediately got hurt and was placed on injured reserve for a while but is back now. That J-F Berube?
Well, he's starting in goal tonight against Minnesota in the Islanders' first game back to work after the All Star break.
Since his return to the Sound Tigers, Berube has played very well. It's possible that the Islanders want to see how he fares as insurance and/or trade bait going forward. But neither of those makes the timing any less odd.
Berube was 4-0 in Bridgeport with a 0.97 GAA and .967 SV% over the last 2 weeks. #Isles want to get him in the lineup and he's in a rhythm— Cory Wright (@WrightsWay) February 2, 2016
Here's more on Berube from Arthur Staple, who tweeted about his status yesterday:
Berube's conditioning stint has reached its limit, so he had to be recalled or waived. Mayfield up in case Boychuk isn't ready.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 1, 2016
W/ Berube, who played quite well in BPT, my best guess is #Isles keep him through trade deadline and then try to pass him through waivers...— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 1, 2016
Or use him as a trade chip before deadline. Only thing I know is they'd love to keep him.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 1, 2016
More comforting news to Islanders fans is that rookie Scott Mayfield returns from his short stay in Bridgeport and replaces Brian Strait in the line-up tonight. Of course, that won't stop anyone from talking about Strait or curtail their planning his long-awaited exit from the team. But it does mean that, at least for two-plus hours tonight, someone else will probably be to blame for any goal against. Probably.
The 6'-4" Mayfield has played in two games for the Islanders this season. He's got three goals and three assists in 38 games for Bridgeport this season.
There's no more news on the state of defenseman Adam Pelech, who is out with a still-undisclosed injury. But more changes to the defense are definitely ahead, with a familiar face close to returning:
Boychuk very close, could be back by Thursday, weekend more likely.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 2, 2016