WASHINGTON — J-F Berube dressed as Thomas Greiss’ backup on Saturday night here, but sitting on the bench in his gear and with a baseball cap on his head is the closest Berube will get to an NHL game for a while.
Unless the Kings, Berube’s former team, come calling. L.A. will be without goaltender Jonathan Quick for a reported 3-4 months after he was injured in the season opener on Wednesday. Not only do the Islanders have three goaltenders — Jaroslav Halak flew back to New York on Saturday to be rested and ready for Sunday’s home opener against the Ducks — the Isles have Berube, who was a Kings draft pick and Los Angeles property for four seasons before the Islanders scooped him off waivers last October.
“The goalie coaches there, Billy (Ranford) and Kim (Dillabaugh) at the time, they really made me the goalie that I am today,” Berube said. “I owe a lot of credit to them. At the same time I’m here and I want to focus on this team. Whatever happens happens, but I haven’t spoke to my agent about it. It’s something I don’t really want to focus on because I want to be here and focus on here right now.”
Berube has resigned himself to waiting for a chance to play, the same as last season, when he got into seven games despite spending all but six weeks with the Isles as the third and then second goaltender when Halak was hurt.
“Everyone knows it’s hard to improve your game in practices,” he said. “You need to just learn from the game. At the same time, there’s an opportunity to improve my conditioning and work on some details I can work on. It’s fun to see it translate into games. But I don’t have control over that, I only have control over my game and my work so I just focus on that.”
Chimera ‘all business’
Former Cap Jason Chimera had plenty of fun when the Islanders came down here last Sunday for their final preseason game, racing around the Verizon Center before that game and yelling into various rooms to get everyone pumped up (something he did in his six seasons here). He also had his former teammates laughing on the ice in that game when he tussled with Tom Wilson, bumped John Carlson and snowed Braden Holtby.
But Saturday night was different. “There’s no time for joking anymore,” he said. “It’s all business.”
Chimera did say he had some advantages going in.
“I know where to score on Holtby and all that stuff,” he said with a grin. “It’s going to be real easy to score on him because I scored on him many times in practice and I’ve got lots of little secrets.”