Today's National Post contained a nice piece on Gatineau's Paul Byron. Byron and les Olympiques begin their QMJHL series with Rouyn-Noranda tonight. Olympiques’ little man putting up big numbers
"He's not very big," says one of his former coaches, Ottawa West Golden Knights Jr. B head coach and president Blake Sinclair, "but he plays like a 200-pounder." A 200-pounder with hands. In their run-up to the league final, which opens Friday in Rouyn-Noranda, the Olympiques have been in 14 playoff games - and Byron has 15 goals. No one in the "Q" has scored more this spring (Scott Howes of Saint John also has 15). Byron is tied for fourth in points, with 20, behind his winger, Giroux, the Philadelphia Flyers' hot prospect.Byron's 2008 playoff performance comes a year after last season's playoff year that saw him score five goals in five games.
He tries not to get caught up in the anticipation of next fall's pro camp in Buffalo (the thumb injury limited his activity at last year's camp), or even the possibility of a Memorial Cup tournament if Gatineau can survive this round. Byron's thoughts are on tonight's game, on getting better as a two-way player. His favourite NHL player is Paul Kariya, but Byron tries to play a more robust style than his hero. "I try to be smart and use my quickness to get out of situations," Byron says, "but I also try to play hard physically. When you hit, you create turnovers and chances. I find a lot of people play me soft because they look at me and don't expect me to be physical."