New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens

Players make adjustments to avoid sophomore slump


It seems inevitable, the dreaded sophomore slump.

In loose terms, it’s when a previous first-year player – doesn’t matter what sport or league, but we’ll stick with hockey on this one – struggles to play up to the expectations set for them in their second year.

The standard is often based on the bottom line: goal production for forwards, perhaps plus-minus ratings for defensemen and wins or losses for goalies.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment to be made for the upcoming 2013-2014 season is it’s a full 82-game schedule, as opposed to the 48 games from last season, which was cut drastically short due to the lockout.

That’s a point Brendan Gallagher, the Montreal Canadiens diminutive forward who had 15 goals and 28 points in 44 regular season games, discussed recently with

“You make sure your body is going to withstand that,” Gallagher told

“A big part of my game is bringing energy to my teammates and bringing energy to how they play and what they can do. It’s just something to focus on every game. I try to be the hardest-working player.

“I try to focus on the things I can control and not worry about the things that you can’t.”

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.