James O'Brien

Andrew Hammond

Senators recall Driedger so Hammond can deal with ‘personal matter’

The Ottawa Senators made Chris Driedger an emergency recall so fellow goalie Andrew Hammond could take care of a “personal matter.”

The team didn’t specify if Hammond will actually miss any  game time, as the Senators don’t play again until they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

Assuming his personal matter takes a while, it’s not a bad time to step away; Ottawa’s schedule is pretty light this week with games on Wednesday and Saturday.

Hammond was on the wrong side of Alex Ovechkin‘s historic night, as Ovechkin scored goals 500 and 501 against him. He absorbed every goal in the Senators’ humbling 7-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

Video: Dustin Byfuglien gets a piece of Evander Kane

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All eyes are on Evander Kane in Winnipeg, and Dustin Byfuglien even took a special moment to “welcome him back.”

Translation: he body-checked him pretty hard.

(As you may remember, Byfuglien was the guy who allegedly tossed Kane’s infamous track suit in the shower when they were still Jets teammates.)

You can see that check in the video above, which left Kane stumbling. That’s sort of been the unfortuante theme for the now-Buffalo Sabres forward on Sunday, at least so far.


Video: Drew Stafford’s between-the-legs pass triggers goal

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Hey, Evander Kane isn’t the only player facing his former team in Sunday afternoon’s Buffalo Sabres – Winnipeg Jets game.

There are some former Sabres on the other side, and one of them – Drew Stafford – made a highlight reel play.

You can see it in the video above: Stafford’s between-the-legs pass set up an eventual goal for Blake Wheeler.

On the other end, it wasn’t a perfect start for Kane:

Goalie nods: Montoya aims to guide Panthers to 12th win in a row

Florida Panthers goalie Al Montoya watches game action against the New Jersey Devils' during the second period of a NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Al Montoya faces considerable pressure in attempting to keep the Florida Panthers’ winning streak alive, but he’s on a hot streak of his own.

Montoya’s currently on a four-game winning streak, only allowing a single goal in each of his past five appearances.

Roberto Luongo‘s been getting most of the reps this season, and with good reason, as the veteran netminder is on a personal-record nine-game winning streak of his own.

Montoya’s done a remarkable job of running with his chances this season, as he has a 6-1-1 record and fantastic .938 save percentage.

The Panthers hope to hit a 12th consecutive win in facing the Oilers in Edmonton tonight. Cam Talbot looks to be in the net opposite Montoya.

Elsewhere …

Sabres at Jets: Linus Ullmark vs. Connor Hellebuyck

Senators at Capitals: Andrew Hammond, with Washington’s starter unclear (Braden Holtby played on Saturday).

Avalanche at Blackhawks: Semyon Varlamov vs. Corey Crawford

Devils at Wild: Cory Schneider vs. perhaps Devan Dubnyk

Red Wings at Ducks: Petr Mrazek vs. perhaps John Gibson

Cheaper than a classified ad: Canucks announce interest in trading Higgins (Update)

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55) lands on Vancouver Canucks left wing Chris Higgins (20) in front of goalie Jimmy Howard (35) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 18, 2015 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Here’s something you don’t see everyday/ever: the Vancouver Canucks generated a press release announcing their interest in trading Chris Higgins.

This is the full release, via GM Jim Benning:

“As part of our transition to a younger team, I can confirm we’re exploring trade options for Chris Higgins so we can create more roster space for our younger players to develop. Chris is a quality person who has been an important member of our team for nearly five seasons. Our focus has been on finding a positive new situation for him and we will continue to do so.”

That’s … pretty unusual.

Granted, this has been a week-or-so of trade rumors becoming unusually public (and sometimes resulting in an actual trade), so maybe this is just the next step?

Either that or the Canucks are desperate, as it might be tough to find takers on Higgins’ $2.5 million cap hit, which won’t expire until after the 2016-17 season.

Apparently he’ll be inactive while Vancouver looks for a trade, so this may very well be a way of announcing as much (as anything else):

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman shed some more light on the Higgins situation: