PIECE

Hammond hopes to con­trib­ute, but ‘it’s com­pletely out of his hands’ ... McCormick aim­ing for fourth-line role ... Dzin­gel sits with groin in­jury ... Come on out to camp

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - — Ken War­ren

Due to the ex­tra bod­ies at train­ing camp, goal­tender An­drew Hammond was bumped to the penalty box from the bench as he watched the ac­tion dur­ing Saturday’s in­trasquad scrim­mage.

It was a fit­ting spot, con­sid­er­ing that the Ham­bur­glar is still around the team that he led on its his­toric run to the play­offs in 2015, but un­sure whether he’ll ever fig­ure into the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s plans again.

“It’s com­pletely out of my hands,” he said. “I can’t worry about it too much. I’m aware of what’s go­ing on and what could have hap­pened, but I took the ap­proach of just pre­par­ing my­self to be an NHL goalie, wher­ever that may be.”

If not for a series of hip, groin and an­kle in­juries last sea­son — Hammond fi­nally feels like him­self fol­low­ing hip surgery to re­pair the chronic problem — he would have likely played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the net while Craig An­der­son was with his wife, Ni­cholle, in her cancer fight. Hammond still has one year and $1.5 mil­lion re­main­ing on the con­tract he signed fol­low­ing the 2014-15 sea­son.

Now, though, the depth chart looks de­cid­edly dif­fer­ent. An­der­son and Mike Con­don, ac­quired when Hammond couldn’t play through the pain last Oc­to­ber, are set to start the sea­son in Ottawa.

Be­low them, vet­eran Danny Tay­lor, Chris Driedger and promis­ing prospect Mar­cus Hog­berg will fight for play­ing time with Belleville of the AHL and/or the ECHL. Due to a string of in­juries, Se­na­tors goalie An­drew Hammond couldn’t es­tab­lish a role with the team last sea­son.

Hammond, who has been ex­posed on waivers and of­fered up in trades, is the odd man out.

He ac­knowl­edges hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced bouts of frus­tra­tion at los­ing his spot due to an in­jury, but he also un­der­stands the na­ture of the game and how quickly life can change in the crease.

“You look all around the league and it hap­pens very quickly,” he said. “I was happy for Mike (Con­don). Peo­ple might not think that, but (at the start) of last year, he was ba­si­cally in the same po­si­tion as me. I’m good

“I’ve been a Sens fan since Day 1,” he said. “I grew up and I stayed lo­cal to my home­town team. I al­ways dreamed of play­ing for the Sens, but when you start play­ing ju­nior (in Ne­pean) and go­ing to school (at Clark­son), you just have as­pi­ra­tions of play­ing in the NHL.”

Sex­ton was drafted in the sev­enth round (206th over­all) by Boston in friends with Jimmy Howard (of Detroit). He was in limbo last sum­mer and now he’s the starter. You have to put your best foot for­ward every day.”

Of all the Se­na­tors sum­mer sign­ings, the two-year deal handed to Max McCormick was among the most in­trigu­ing. While he’s on a two-way con­tract for the 2017-18 sea­son ($650,000 if he plays in the NHL, $200,000 if he’s in Belleville), he has a guar­an­teed $650,000 for the 2018-19 cam­paign.

“It doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily 2009. Af­ter four years at Clark­son — in­clud­ing a stint play­ing along­side Borowiecki — he nat­u­rally thought his first NHL shot might come from the Bru­ins. But af­ter spend­ing two years in their sys­tem and last sea­son with New Jersey’s AHL af­fil­i­ate in Al­bany — he scored 19 goals and 12 as­sists in 2016-17 — he’s back where it all started. change my mind­set, but it def­i­nitely gives me some con­fi­dence, know­ing that they be­lieve in me, and see me mak­ing the step here,” said McCormick, who has scored two goals in 27 games with the Se­na­tors over the past two sea­sons.

Be­ing asked to play on a line with vet­eran NHL play­ers Nate Thomp­son and Tom Py­att on the open­ing two days of camp also pro­vides an­other shot of con­fi­dence.

“It’s def­i­nitely a pos­i­tive and if you play with guys like that, you have to take ad­van­tage of it.”

“It is kind of funny that it comes full cir­cle,” he said.

The fa­ther, now as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager of the Buf­falo Sabres, was ec­tas­tic when the son signed here.

“He was pumped,” Ben Sex­ton said. “It kind of hap­pened pretty quick. I knew the Sens were in­ter­ested, but there were some other teams in the mix. But

Ryan Dzin­gel missed Saturday’s work­out due to a groin pull, but it’s not con­sid­ered se­ri­ous. “He should be back by the end of the week,” Boucher said ... Nick Paul was walk­ing with­out a crutch Saturday, a sign of progress in his re­cov­ery from the left an­kle in­jury he suf­fered Thurs­day ... De­fence­man Chris­tian Jaros con­tin­ues to im­press. He was rock solid in his own end through­out Saturday’s scrim­mage ... Man­age­ment re­ceived a scare when his el­bow caught Colin White in the face af­ter talk­ing with my agent and fam­ily, I felt this would be my best op­por­tu­nity, com­ing home.”

He prides him­self on be­ing solid in all areas of the ice, but made ma­jor of­fen­sive strides last sea­son, play­ing on the top two lines in Al­bany.

He’s cur­rently pen­cilled into a sim­i­lar spot with the Se­na­tors new Belleville AHL af­fil­i­ate, but with the — and one-timed a slap­shot from the blue line for a goal ... Chris DiDomenico re­ceived a pun­ish­ing re­minder to not put his head down when Mark Borowiecki is on the ice, end­ing up on his rear when the de­fence­man raced in from the blue line to fin­ish his check.

Got a ques­tion for Erik Karls­son? Want to find out de­tails about sea­son tick­ets? Aim­ing to check out the club’s prospects be­fore Monday’s pre-sea­son opener against Toronto? In­ter­ested in which Se­na­tors player is the best at trivia? It’s all part of the sched­ule as the Se­na­tors open the doors to fans, be­gin­ning at 9 a.m. at Cana­dian Tire Cen­tre Sun­day.

The talk be­gins at 9:15, for a round ta­ble dis­cus­sion in­volv­ing Se­na­tors pres­i­dent Tom Anselmi, gen­eral man­ager Pierre Do­rion, as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager Randy Lee and TSN 1200 play-by-play an­nouncer Dean Brown.

A full in­strasquad scrim­mage at 11:15 a.m. will be sand­wiched around prac­tices for Team Red and Team White, the train­ing camp work­ing groups.

Cap­tain Karls­son will take ques­tions from the crowd at 12:15 p.m. At 1:30 p.m., Con­don, Der­ick Bras­sard and Fredrik Claes­son will be avail­able at a news con­fer­ence, where only chil­dren can ask ques­tions. The day will also pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for fans to re­ceive au­to­graphs from play­ers. in­juries steadily mount­ing through train­ing camp, there’s a chance he could one day climb all the way to the big leagues.

“That’s the No. 1 pri­or­ity,” Sex­ton said. “I have as­pi­ra­tions of play­ing in the NHL and I felt there is an op­por­tu­nity here. You’ve got to go with your gut.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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