The daily “NHL Talk” column is your go-to for quotes from the top storylines in the NHL. Listen to THW contributors talk hockey every weekday on The Hockey Writers Podcast, available on iHeartRadio and wherever you listen to podcasts.
In this edition of NHL Talk, these are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more:
Kraken’s Giordano Returns to Calgary for First Time Since Departure
Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano visited the Calgary Flames for the first time since he was selected at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, a 2-1 Kraken loss at the Flames on Saturday. The 38-year-old played his first 15 NHL seasons with the Flames and served as captain in his final eight years with the team. In his return, he recorded three shots on goal and led his team with 21:11 of ice time.
“It means a lot,” said Giordano. “I think I came in here pretty young, a young guy not knowing too much about what the NHL was all about, and the city, obviously. I felt like every night that I played I put in as much as I can into the game and I think the fans here respect that and really showed me support throughout my career. It’s been nothing but very supportive and people being great to you in the city of Calgary.”
Canadiens’ Hammond to Make First NHL Start in Four Years
Montreal Canadiens’ newly-acquired goaltender Andrew Hammond will suit up for his first NHL game since March 28, 2018, when they visit the New York Islanders on Sunday. Through 56 NHL games and 49 starts, he has a 27-15-6 record with a 2.31 goals-against average (GAA), .923 save percentage (SV%) and four shutouts. In 2014-15 he earned the nickname “Hamburglar” for carrying the Ottawa Senators with a 20-1-2 record, 1.79 GAA, and .941 SV% to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs after the team sat 14 points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot on Feb. 10, 2015.
“Even after my first year when I went to Colorado (2017-18) and played in the playoffs (three games), I’ve had success again,” Hammond said. “So I think it just kind of perpetuates the inner belief I have in myself that I can play in this league and play well. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to. All I can do is keep showing up and play as best as I can and keep trying to prove people wrong.”
Sabres’ Thompson Tallies First Career Hat Trick
Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson recorded his first NHL hat trick in a 5-3 loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. The 24-year-old is having the best season of his young career, leading the Sabres with 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists) in 46 games. Scoring three goals in an NHL game is something he dreamt of since his childhood.
“It’s a cool experience, for sure,” Thompson said. “You grow up and you want to play in the NHL and those are little dreams you have: scoring a hat trick, winning the Stanley Cup. For one of those to come true and get a hat trick, it’s a cool feeling.”
Avalanche Tie Second-Longest Road Winning Streak in Franchise History
The Avalanche won its seventh consecutive game on the road with a 5-3 victory over the Sabres on Sunday. The feat ties the second-longest road winning streak in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise history, only behind a nine-game streak in 2019-20. They can tie their all-time road winning streak record if they win their next two contests, at the Boston Bruins on Monday and at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
“To be able to string together seven in a row, at a tough time in the year, I think it kind of shows that we can play our game, not just in our building, but on the road as well,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.