Ryan Dadoun

Encore? Hammond makes some history

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One of the interesting storylines that hasn’t really been explored much this season is what Andrew Hammond will do for an encore. Last night though, we got a reminder of just how good he was last season and what kind of potential he has in 2015-16.

Hammond was solid against the Detroit Red Wings, allowing just one goal on 30 shots to put his rough return from a groin injury on Oct. 22 behind him. Friday’s contest also marked Hammond’s 21st victory in 27 career games, which is an NHL record, per the Elias Sports Bureau and the NHL Communications Department.

Remarkably, Hammond still has just one career loss in regulation time.

It would be a stretch to expect him to live up to the standard he set last season when he came out of nowhere to help guide the Ottawa Senators to the playoffs against all odds, but that still doesn’t answer the question of what they’re going to get out of him. Now that he’s healthy, will he prove to be a solid backup for Craig Anderson? Can he challenge for the starting gig? Or alternatively, will the 27-year-old completely fall back to Earth?

Ottawa inked him to a three-year, $4.05 million deal that starts this season, which has the potential to be a great move. Only time will tell, but if nothing else, Hammond has his name in the record books.

Eberle moving towards his return

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The Edmonton Oilers moved Jordan Eberle to the long-term injured reserve list on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean he’s still has a long road ahead of him.

In fact, Thursday also marked Eberle’s first skate with his teammates since he sustained a shoulder injury during the preseason. He hopes to resume practicing today.

“It’s sore a little bit, but other than that I’m pretty close to 100% in terms of shooting and puck handling,” Eberle told the Edmonton Journal.

He’ll be joining an interesting team when he is ready. While Edmonton is 4-7-0, Connor McDavid has lived up to the hype thus far and Nail Yakupov is enjoying what might be the start of a breakout season. It’s made the Oilers dangerous offensively even without Eberle, who was their scoring leader last season.

Edmonton also overcame a 3-0 deficit against the Montreal Canadiens last night and was competitive in its contests against Minnesota and Los Angeles before that. Still, none of that changes the Oilers’ record and their defense and goaltending remain points of concern.

Getting Eberle back would certainly be a big boost for the team though.

Related: Justin Schultz out 2-4 weeks; Draisaitl on line with Hall and RNH

PHT Morning Skate: Bylsma’s puck tossed to kid gets intercepted, but young fan doesn’t leave empty handed


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

During last night’s game in Pittsburgh, an adult intercepted a puck that Sabres coach Dan Bylsma tossed into the stands meant for a kid. After finding out, the Penguins gave that kid a puck and jersey. (Puck Daddy)

Scott Burnside wrote a great piece on Pekka Rinne at the start of what could be a big season for the 32-year-old netminder. (ESPN)

T.J. Oshie sat down with Frank Seravalli to talk about, among other things, his decision to dress up as one of the 101 Dalmatians for Halloween. Apparently it’s partially because Alex Ovechkin already took Batman. (TSN)

Bryan Murray’s work has helped him through his battle with terminal colon cancer. (NHL.com)

GM Lou Lamoriello is upbeat about the Maple Leafs, despite their 1-5-2 record. (ESPN)

Colton Parayko and Ovechkin have something in common:

Flyers return LaBarbera to AHL, opening door for Neuvirth’s return

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It looks like Michal Neuvirth is ready to return from his upper-body injury.

Philadelphia has already taken the step of returning third-string goaltender Jason LaBarbera to the minors, per the Flyers’ Twitter feed. That leaves the squad with two goaltenders on its roster, including Neuvirth, who is eligible to be activated off of the injured reserve list ahead of tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils.

Neuvirth posted back-to-back shutouts on Oct. 12 and Oct. 14. He didn’t start again until Oct. 21 against Boston when he allowed two goals on 12 shots in the first period of the contest. He couldn’t come back out following the intermission though. He had been struck in the face by a stick during the first frame:

When asked over the weekend if he had suffered a concussion, Neuvirth told CSN Philly, “I’m not allowed to tell you anything.”

Blackhawks staying strong without Keith

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If the mark of a great team is the ability to step up in the face of adversity, then the 2015-16 Chicago Blackhawks are making the case that a summer of significant changes hasn’t diminished them in some of the most important ways.

Losing Duncan Keith to a knee injury is about as big of a blow as Chicago could have endured, but the Blackhawks have a 3-0 record without him.

It helps that all of those contests have been at home though, giving Chicago the benefit of last change. Goaltender Corey Crawford also posted back-to-back shutouts on Saturday and Monday, which has been critical for the Blackhawks given that they were unable to score a single goal in the first 60 minutes of either game.

That being said, Chicago has still had to fill a substantial void as Keith was averaging a team-leading 24:21 minutes per game. Brent Seabrook logged more than 26 minutes in two of the Blackhawks’ last three contests, but rookie blueliners Trevor van Riemsdyk and Viktor Svedberg have also been asked to make a big jump.

van Riemsdyk went from averaging around 17 minutes to logging more than 21 minutes per contest while Svedberg has been on the ice for more than 19 minutes in each of his last two contests, beating his previous high of 16:54.

Keith is still expected to miss another three-to-five weeks though, so Chicago’s trial is still in the early stages. The next test will be to see how Chicago responds on the road against Winnipeg and Minnesota. Things don’t get any easier after that either as the Blackhawks will host Los Angeles on Monday and St. Louis on Wednesday.