The last 24 hours have been very busy for goaltender Andrew Hammond.
After being the backup goalie in the Belleville Senator's contest on Tuesday night against the Charlotte Checkers, Hammond woke up Wednesday morning to fly to Denver to join the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado recalled the Surrey, British Columbia, native after Semyon Varlamov was absent from the Avs practice on Tuesday with an illness and wouldn't be able to dress for Colorado's contest against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
Jonathan Bernier will be in the crease for the Avalanche's contest against Dallas and Hammond will be the backup netminder.
"[Varlamov] is feeling better already today," Avs head coach Jared Bednar said after the team's morning skate. "We are just going to keep him away from the rink here. Practicing and traveling is not exactly conducive to getting better. He will be back at the rink here tomorrow."
Since being acquired by Colorado in a three-team trade on Nov. 5, Hammond has stayed with Belleville, the Ottawa Senators' AHL affiliate.
"You know, it's a pretty unique situation and you don't see it happen a ton," Hammond said of staying with the same AHL club. "But for me, I think it probably helped because it helps the adjustment. You get to know people a little bit slower than being thrown into something where you are trying to learn everyone's face and all about them. Overall I think it helped with the adjustment, and I am happy to be here and happy to be up right now."
So far this campaign, he has skated in 10 AHL games and compiled a 5-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.
"I feel as good about my game as I have in my career, and I think that is mainly attributed to just being healthy," said Hammond. "I have battled injuries the last couple years and I think last year it was kind of something that when I got surgery on my hip, that was kind of I guess becoming an issue in other parts of my body because it was trying to pick up the slack.
"So now that that has been repaired, I feel great on the ice and most importantly I have finally been able to play some hockey games now. And I am playing without any hindrances, and for me that's been the really exciting part about the season so far."
He is trying to stay in the moment and not overthink his stint with Colorado, however long that might be.
"I have no expectations. I think the situation I have been in for the last year you take it day-by-day," Hammond said. "Every day is new, and I think I have learned that all you can do is focus on putting your best foot forward and trying to get better every day. All of that other stuff is out of my control, so there is not really much point worrying about it."
He appeared in six games for Ottawa in 2016-17 but missed most of the year with a lower-body injury. He has appeared in 55 NHL games, all with the Senators, and has a 27-14-6 record.
It is uncertain as to how long Hammond will remain with the NHL club as the team is getting ready to play three games in the next four days.
After Wednesday night's contest, the Avalanche will play at the Minnesota Wild on Friday and will host the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
"We have Hammond here right now, so if we decide that Varly is not starting [against Minnesota on Friday] then we may leave him back so he gets rest," said Bednar on when Varlamov could return to game action. "If there is a possibility he can start Saturday then we will look at that."
BOURQUE RETURNS TO LINEUP
This morning, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar confirmed that forward Gabriel Bourque will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the team's last three contests. He will replace Sven Andrighetto on a line with center Dominic Toninato and Nail Yakupov.
"Bourque has been working real hard. He brings an element of grit and sandpaper to our lineup," Bednar said. "Some heaviness that I think we need against this team. I talked with Andrighetto, and I think that he can get back to his roots a little bit here and give us a little bit more than what he is giving us lately. Coming out of the last game, especially playing Dallas, a big body team, we want to put a little more heaviness in there"
Bourque started the season with the San Antonio Rampage and registered one goal and one assist in five games. He made his season debut for the Avalanche on Oct. 24 against Dallas and had 10:18 of ice time in the Avs' 5-3 victory.
BARRIES SHINING SUCCESS
Defenseman Tyson Barrie has 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 19 career games against the Stars. He is one of only three active rear guards who is averaging at least a point-per-game versus Dallas.
"Nothing I can put my finger on," he said of why he is so productive against the Stars. "Just a team I like to play against, I guess."
He leads all Avalanche defensemen in points (16), assists (14) and goals (two) and is tied for first on the team in game-winning tallies (two).
Barrie did not dress in the Avalanche's 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday due to an upper-body injury but returned to game action on Saturday against the Nashville Predators. He had two assists in Colorado's 4-3 win on Sunday at the Detroit Red Wings.
"Yeah, just something was nagging me," he said of his injury. "If I could have played, I would have. It wasn't a rest it kind of thing, it was something that was hindering me so obviously I didn't get to play, but it feels good now."
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Colin Wilson - Alexander Kerfoot - J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Gabriel Bourque - Dominic Toninato - Nail Yakupov
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov - Mark Barberio
Chris Bigras - Tyson Barrie