James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Wow, Ottawa placed ‘Hamburglar’ Hammond on waivers


After Andrew Hammond reportedly said no to a conditioning stint, the Ottawa Senators took a somewhat surprising route: placing “The Hamburglar” on waivers.

The Senators have been rolling with the trio of Hammond, Craig Anderson and Mike Condon since Anderson’s spent time away from the team amid his wife’s health struggles.

When Anderson has been in net, he’s been downright outstanding, and Condon’s made a solid impression for the Senators so far.

Perhaps money is part of the reason that Hammond is the odd man out:

Anderson: $4.2 million cap hit through 2017-18
Hammond: $1.35 million cap hit through 2017-18
Condon: $575K expires after this season

To an extent, it’s never felt like the Senators gave Hammond a full-fledged opportunity to back up his resounding, season-saving work from 2014-15.

Despite being solid enough save-percentage-wise (.914) last season, he only made 24 appearances and 21 starts. This year, he’s only been in two games, allowing six goals on just 29 shots.

There are reasons to have misgivings about making a claim on Hammond, especially since his contract runs through 2017-18.

Still, with teams like the Los Angeles Kings hurting for goaltending, maybe “The Hamburglar” is worth a sample?


In other Senators news, Bobby Ryan won’t play on Saturday while Mike Hoffman looks unlikely to play.

Mixed injury news for Capitals, including Oshie out week-to-week

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It’s quite an achievement that the Washington Capitals beat the Detroit Red Wings despite being down three forwards on Friday, but what about those injury implications?

Well, it appears to be a mixed bag, with the headline news being the least appetizing.

The Capitals consider T.J. Oshie out “week-to-week” with an upper-body injury, while Lars Eller‘s upper-body ailment is more of a day-to-day concern.

On the bright side, NHL.com’s Katie Brown ranks among those who note that Andre Burakovsky – the third of those Washington forwards to suffer a recent injury – was at least able to practice on Saturday morning.

“Week-to-week” is basically the scarier version of the often-frustrating “day-to-day” label. After all, weeks can turn to a month or months, for all we know.

That said, with all the significant players ruled out for months outright lately, maybe week-to-week isn’t so bad.

For Capitals fans who need a pick-me-up, how about this adorably goofy praise from Barry Trotz to Jay Beagle?

The world needs photo-heavy dictionaries, right?

If Coyotes are shopping Stone, some defense-needy team should pounce


Every now and then, a star player like P.K. Subban or Taylor Hall gets traded, but most of the time, teams are lucky to land depth guys.

Is Michael Stone a star defenseman, or one who’s without flaws? No, but if the Arizona Coyotes are shopping him around – as the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports – then teams should at least take a look.

This HERO chart backs up the story you may already know from looking at his stats or watching him play: Stone has his issues defensively, yet he’s a pretty nice scorer from the blueline.

As the NHL learns some lessons from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup run (namely, that you can mask defensive issues in many cases if you get guys who can keep the puck moving), someone like Stone can be a nice asset as a specialist.

Stone generated a career-high 36 points in 75 games for Arizona last season, and he’s also done reasonably well with a 21-point performance in 2013-14 and 18 in 2014-15.

He’s logging plenty of ice time, too.

Now, he’s doing so on a Coyotes team that’s obviously not setting the world on fire, yet there could be a Justin Schultz parallel here.

If a quality team adds Stone to their mix in a protected role – solid power play time, friendly zone starts and matchups – they could very well get a nice boost. And, with the Coyotes still in rebuild mode, it’s tough to imagine them driving too hard a bargain in a hypothetical trade.

While it’s true that Stone is the sort of player who might not work out in every scenario, there’s enough talent that he could, and at a bargain rate. Plenty of teams crave defensive help, so why not give Stone a low-risk, medium-reward shot?

(H/T to Rotoworld.)

Evander Kane: ‘Score two goals against the Sabres and you’re going to win’


While the Tampa Bay Lightning passed their first test post-Steven Stamkos injury, the Buffalo Sabres offense once again failed in a 4-1 loss on Thursday.

Just ask Evander Kane.

“It must be a joke floating around the league: You score two goals against the Buffalo Sabres and you’re going to win the hockey game,” Kane said, according to the Buffalo News.

Well, then.

On one hand, Kane has a point. Just look at Buffalo’s output in November, even in wins:

Nov. 1: 2-1 win at the Wild
Nov. 3: 2-1 loss vs. Maple Leafs
Nov. 5: 2-1 win at Senators
Nov. 7: 4-0 loss at Bruins
Nov. 9: 2-1 shootout loss vs. Senators
Nov. 11: 2-1 OT loss vs. Devils
Nov. 12: 4-2 loss at Devils
Tuesday: 4-1 loss at Blues
Thursday: 4-1 loss vs. Lightning

Kane’s assessment is literally correct, at least during this specific month; they’ve scored two goals or less in every game so far in November.

Of course, the young power forward can’t really deny that he’s part of the problem.

His assist on Thursday’s lone Buffalo goal is the only point he’s mustered in six games this season. It’s not just a matter of bad luck, alone, as he’s only managed 11 shots on goal during that span.

It’s no secret that there are trade rumors surrounding Kane, and it’s tougher and tougher to dismiss the notion that both sides might benefit from a fresh start.

That said, as low as things sink for the Sabres on this six-game losing streak, Kane hasn’t exactly driven his trade value through the roof, either.

Brad Richardson hospitalized after scary hit (Video)

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Scary scene from the Arizona Coyotes – Vancouver Canucks game on Thursday: Brad Richardson was taken off on a stretcher after the awkward hit he received.

He’s been taken to a Vancouver-area hospital with what’s currently labeled a lower-body injury, according to Dave Vest of the team’s website.

To little surprise, Richardson won’t return to Thursday’s game. It’s unclear how serious his injury is beyond that.

You can see that unfortunate hit – Richardson was caught at an inopportune time – in the video above this post’s headline.

Update: After the Coyotes’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Canucks, Dave Tippett said he expects to know more about Richardson’s status as soon as Friday, but believes “we’re looking at a pretty significant injury.”