Craig Anderson made another emotional return to the Canadian Tire Centre. Securing a win, and an incredible shutout. We assess the impact of his return.
Ottawa Senators fans have been waiting a long time for this. Anderson making his first start since Dec.5 having been away from the game to be at the side of his wife Nicholle who is battling cancer.
A much needed return from their number one goaltender, after much speculation about a stint in Binghamton to get game ready. He had been working tirelessly with Pierre Grouix in New Jersey, he wasn’t exactly taking it easy.
Tonights game: against a rejuvenated New York Islanders, many expected even with the emotion of Anderson returning, for the Sens to be beaten. Craig Anderson had other ideas, stopping all 33 of the shots he faced. The Sens running out 3-0 winners.
A first game back in just over two months and it was his job to stop one of the best shooters in the league, John Tavares, from running the Sens ragged. Registering three shots on Anderson tonight, which is about par for the superstar.
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What Has Anderson Actually Brought?
Character. An essential ingredient that has been frequently missing when heads drop in games. The man has had an incredibly tough year, there is no disputing this. When a loved one goes through what Nicholle is going through it must be impossible to focus on hockey.
At the end of the day, this is a job for these guys, and family comes first. However, the most heartwarming trait of our sport is that hockey is a family. Nicholle knows this, with all the support she has received from this market, not just since the illness.
Nicholle has been the one itching for Craig to get out there to prove that point. Yes, family should always come first but hockey is also that family.
My point here is that, it will make this team work harder. If they look behind them and see what Anderson is doing given everything that has happened, that extra ten percent miraculously becomes more manageable.
Of course it also helps that he is performing that well, and long may it continue. It was a completely different feel, not only in the crowd, but in the squad itself. Just imagine how the locker room would have been!