CHICAGO - From the waiver wire Tuesday to a start at United Center on Saturday night, Jean-Francois Berube has had an interesting week.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano went to the 24-year-old Berube on Saturday night here for the young goaltender's first NHL start. As Capuano informed reporters about two hours before the puck drop, Berube pedaled slowly on a stationary bike a few feet away.
"You just go out and you play," Capuano said of Berube, whom the Isles plucked off waivers from the Kings just five days ago. "There's a little pressure, in this building against the Stanley Cup champs, but there isn't much time for nerves. Just go out, compete and enjoy it."
Berube made 30 saves against the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, giving up three even-strength goals and one power-play goal in a 4-1 loss.
Choosing Berube, who has appeared in 100 regular-season and 21 postseason AHL games the past two seasons with Manchester, the Kings' farm team, was not anything against Thomas Greiss.
Greiss, the presumptive Islanders backup, made 32 saves in Friday night's 3-2 overtime loss and said he felt good enough to play again Saturday night. But Capuano was loath to play Jaroslav Halak on consecutive nights last season and is sticking to that script on the opening weekend this year.
"It's too early in the year for that, especially not knowing where we are with Jaro," Capuano said. "We've got two goalies here and we want to see what we've got."
Travis Hamonic said communication with a new goaltender is a key. He would know, given that Berube is the 13th goaltender to start a game since Hamonic came into the NHL in the 2010-11 season, when Capuano took over.
"I imagine we'll talk a little bit prior to the game," Hamonic said. "You've got to be able to communicate out there and this is a loud building. Goalie touches are important to how we like to play, so you need to get the terminology down quick."
Capuano had no update on Halak, who remained on Long Island to work with goaltender coach Mike Dunham. Halak likely is out of Monday afternoon's home game with the Jets as well.
So Berube had a chance to make an impression with his debut. The Islanders likely will carry three goaltenders for as long as they can to avoid having to pass Berube through waivers.
If they were to place Berube back on waivers for the purpose of sending him to the AHL, any team that put in a claim that was ranked lower than the Isles in the claim order would have a chance to pick him up. That would be followed by the Kings, who likely weren't happy to lose one of their own prospects in a numbers crunch.
There's also the Sabres, who lost starting goaltender Robin Lehner for several months in their season opener. So the Islanders wanted to see what Berube could give them and see what that means going forward in goal.
Said Capuano, "He's waited a long time for this to come."