Ryan O'Reilly

O’Reilly to make season debut this afternoon vs. Columbus

Colorado Avalanche fans won’t have to wait long to see newly re-signed forward Ryan O’Reilly in action.

After practicing with the team yesterday, coach Joe Sacco says O’Reilly will play this afternoon against Columbus and will play on the third line with John Mitchell and Milan Hejduk. Adrian Dater of The Denver Post gets the coach’s explanation as to why.

“I like the way the other two lines played the other night; they really had some good production. So we’ll put him with Mitchell, who’s got some offensive potential; and we all know Milan’s history. So, it should be a good fit,” Sacco said.

Just for the record, that makes O’Reilly a third line center making $5 million a year against the cap. Obviously he wasn’t going to be thrown right into top-six forward work with how well Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny have played so far this season, but making the team stronger up the middle is a good thing.

As of now, the Avalanche sit four points back of eighth place Nashville in the West. Now would be a good time to earn the new paycheck.


Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.