Ottawa Senators goaltending coach Rick Wamsley spoke with the media earlier today about Andrew Hammond's recent play, his quiet confidence and how he's seen the goaltender grow since joining the team a few weeks back.
On Andrew Hammond's last 5 games:
We're really happy with where he's at and I'm with everybody else; it's a great story. To say his year was going the way he wanted it or we wanted it in Binghamton would not be right but what I like is that the character of the person is really showing through and he's taking full advantage of an opportunity that's been presented to him. Kudos to him for stepping in and playing really well and I think he's grown as a goalie over the month that he's been here. He looks a lot calmer than what we've seen in the past and I think it's paying huge dividends for him.
On his weeks of practice time with the Sens before his debut:
I think any time you can hang around NHL shooters on a consistent basis and practice at an NHL pace on a consistent basis it's going to help you if you do get the opportunity. I thought it was huge going into his first start, I remember him saying that the game didn't seem as fast as the last time he played and that's recognition that he's pretty comfortable with where his game's at.
On Hammond helping himself:
He just comes to work every day. He's a professional every day. To me, he's paid attention every day. I think there's a quiet confidence that he understood that he could play at this level but wasn't really sure. His early performances are just confirmation that he can play.
On his progress over the past 2 years:
The one thing about his time in Binghamton that I did like was his save percentage hung around .900. To me, he's close to being where he needs to be. It's not like he was playing with an .850 or .860 save percentage where that guy has no hope of playing at any level. So he kept his save percentage around .900 so there's something there. I think he was signed because there's something there and I think it's taken us a year and a half to get to the point where he's taking advantage of an NHL opportunity. It's just taken us that long and that's not unusual for an older guy coming out of college to make the adjustments to professional hockey.
On what he likes the most about Hammond's game during this recent stretch:
He's starting to understand the importance that it's not the first save at this level, it's "what you leave" and how you react to "what's left". The problem in the past has been that there was a little overreaction to "what's left" and from what I've seen recently he's starting to get the idea that you don't overreact to small rebounds, he stays in the middle and lets the second shot or opportunity come back to him. He's comfortable staying in the middle of the new angle. He's a wide-bodied guy and he's taking advantage of his wide body.
On Hammond's effect on the rest of the team:
There's a quiet confidence. We were unsure when he went in about how it was going to go and I think as the good performances and saves have stacked up one on top of the other I think the confidence in Andrew has spread throughout the locker room.
On what he has liked most from Hammond's play:
I was really happy with the L.A. game because to me it was a "goalie win". He played really well against Montreal. I thought the game in Anaheim was more of a "shared shutout" whereas I thought the shutout in L.A. was heavily weighted on the goalie and I was very happy with the way he handled the pressure not only from the magnitude of the game but what was presented by the L.A. Kings in the game. I really like the save in the last minute on Toffoli. Obviously, powerplay, the hockey gods seemed like they were against us with Zibanejad taking a penalty late that probably shouldn't happen but he makes a big save and we get the win. That was a little bit of an "ah-ha" moment for me.