Game 9 Recap: When Hockey Transcends the Game | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Game 9 Recap: When Hockey Transcends the Game

Despite losing last night, the final chapter that was the Ottawa Senators versus the Edmonton Oilers story on Sunday ended exactly as it should have. Both goaltenders played well, it was a competitive game and Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson got a reminder of just how much the hockey community can look out for their own.

Before the Game

Craig Anderson wasn't going to play in Edmonton. He's been granted a leave of absence by the Senators to be by the side of his wife Nicholle, who'd been diagnosed with cancer. When backup netminder Andrew Hammond went down to injury, Nicholle urged her husband to call the Senators and let them know he could join the Sens to play against the Oilers.

Sens-GM Pierre Dorion said of the decision:

“Nicholle was the one who wanted Craig to come back. She was the one who said, ‘Craig, your teammates need you right now.’ We made this decision after consulting with Craig and Nicholle, their doctors, and we all felt because of this time frame it was all right for him to rejoin the team,” said Dorion.
The Edmonton Oilers were 7-1-0. The Sens were 4-3-0. If the Oilers had won this game, it would have been the best October they'd have had in the NHL in years.

During the Game

Edmonton had been winning games and built their record to 7-1-0 by out-chancing their opponents, but not out-shooting them. Often the Oilers had the ice tilted the wrong direction unless Connor McDavid was on it and Edmonton badly needed a performance where they came out and shot the lights out of their foe. 
Edmonton achieved their objective. They out-shot the Sens by a margin of 37-21 and had some great opportunities to score. Ten players, led by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with five, had more shots on net than McDavid. If the Oilers had won, it would have been a team victory.

The issue was, Edmonton ran into Craig Anderson who had the support of his Senators teammates, fans in Rogers Place and the entire NHL. His performance was something beyond that of a regular netminder on any given night. He was playing for something more — something bigger.

After the Game

I'm sure Oiler fans wanted to see Edmonton go 8-1-0. I would have too. But, if the Oilers were going to lose to anyone, this was the night and this was the team with the netminder who deserved the win and deserved a piece of happiness, if only for a moment.

Anderson's teammates had a little something extra behind their congratulations of their goalie. Oilers fans stayed to show their warmth, compassion and appreciation. And the opposing netminder, Cam Talbot, stayed on the Oilers bench to see Anderson off the ice and give him a nice round of applause. It was a showing of respect, not only among goaltenders, but among people.

This is just one of the many things that make hockey and hockey players great. It's not to say that in other sports, the warmth and caring among players and teammates doesn't exist, but it's definitely evident in games like the Senators versus the Oilers.

The Oilers had a great October. Craig Anderson, despite what's going on at home and with the health and wellness of his family on the back of his mind, had a great night. That's the way it should be.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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