Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Senators Goalie Andrew Hammond Led Junior Team To RBC Cup:

This was in Thursday's Ottawa Sun Newspaper:

Senators goalie Andrew Hammond led junior team to RBC Cup

By Don Brennan, Ottawa Sun

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Mark Ferner giggled to himself when he read the post-game comments from the Senators' 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings last week.

Specifically, Andrew Hammond's humble/self-deprecating, yet accurate claim not "too many people expected a goalie battle between (Jonathan) Quick and the Hamburglar tonight."

Ferner laughed again after bringing up the quote when reached in Vernon, B.C. by the Sun Thursday afternoon.

"He can't speak about himself in a third party like that," said the coach-GM of the BCHL's Vernon Vipers, both now and when Hammond played for them in 2008-09, before adding: "Even someone here said McDonalds should do some kind of promotion with him.

"Hammy is a good kid. He really is."

Using his own nickname was nothing like another thief, former base stealing king Rickey Henderson, always talking about "Rickey." He has simply given up trying to explain his sudden and improbable rise to fame and is having fun with it.

On Thursday, Hammond posted just his second Twitter entry since being recalled from Binghamton. "Burger Phone is down. Apologize to anyone trying to get ahold of me." It was followed by a cheeseburger and phone icon.

The cell probably exploded with an overloaded of congratulatory text messages from friends.

The other recent tweet was March 1, after the Senators were finished with business in San Jose.

"California has been a treat," Hammond typed, adding three cheeseburger icons that might have represented victories over the Sharks, Kings and Ducks.

When the Senators extended their point streak in Winnipeg's intimidating MTS Centre Wednesday, the NHL's reigning first star of the week was asked if he has ever visited the "zone" he's in now.

"My last year of junior hockey, I was on a similar roll," said Hammond.

Ferner remembers that 2008-09 campaign well.

In need of a goalie, he acquired the then 20-year-old for "future considerations". Told Bryan Murray obtained Kris Draper in exchange for a beer when he was GM of the Red Wings, Ferner said he paid "a little more than a beer," for Hammond, who actually cost him $2,500 -- or half the maximum allowed by the league.

Hammond was worth every penny. He finished that season with a 27-12-1 record leading the Vipers to a Royal Bank Cup but also earned him a scholarship at Bowling Green.

"He had all the confidence in the world, just a real calming influence back there for our defence," said Ferner, whose own playing career included part of the '92-93 season with the Senators farm team in New Haven. "The one thing that stuck in my mind, he was a very poised, very quiet goalie. When I say quiet, not a lot of movement, just real solid in his net.

"We watched the game (in Winnipeg), and nothing's really changed.

"He was the type of goalie that he was better when he didn't see a lot of shots, which is a really tough thing," added Ferner. "It shows the mental toughness he had."

Hammond's focus was not thrown off by the fumbling that went on Wednesday morning, when he was told Craig Anderson would be starting against the Jets then later read the contradicting tweets of reporters -- that were soon confirmed by Senators goalie coach Rick Wamsley.

There will be no such communication mishaps Friday, when he's sure to get his eighth consecutive assignment as the Senators host the Sabres and the crowd at Canadian Tire Centre, which is likely to include a number of fans wearing Hamburlgar masks, gives him a hero's ovation.

The faithful will also discuss among themselves whether he should be considered the Senators No. 1 goalie, a role Hammond was asked if he's ready to assume.

"It's a tough question to answer," he said. "Game-to-game I feel able to put in good efforts, and I'm just going to be ready whenever my name's getting called. Whatever the coach decides to do I'll run with that, but I feel comfortable playing in the games."

He did deny there would be more pressure as the acknowledged go-to guy.

"I think there's been pressure the whole time, because I think we're a team that has known if we don't put these points together consecutively we're going to be out of the playoff race, and I think we're starting to be in that race now," said Hammond. "It's all about handling it. And I feel we've handled it, as a team, great."

Meanwhile, fans of the Vipers are cheering hard for Hammond, as is Ferner.

"It's a great story and who knows where it ends up," said Ferner. "He might end up being one of the best ones. I'm not going to compare him to anybody, that's unfair. But we're thrilled that he's having the success now and it's certainly well deserved."

Told Senators players have suggested Hammond could be the next Ken Dryden, Ferner said: "That's the name I was going to throw out there, but it's a little unfair. Same situation, (Dryden) comes up from the minors and makes a run for the Cup.

"It couldn't happen to a nicer guy," he added. "It's probably one of the better stories in sports right now."

Andrew Hammond 2009 Vernon Vipers Player Profile video

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