On Thursday, Ottawa goaltender, Craig Anderson was given a leave of absence, as he was going through a tough time after this week his 35 year old wife, Nicholle was diagnosed with cancer, but unfortunately Anderson had to return back to resume his services as a player against the Oilers, following an injury to fellow net minder Andrew Hammond.
Anderson not only came out strong, but also gave his best performance out there.
Ottawa Captain Erik Karlsson said:
“He put on a strong face but you could still see the pain in his eyes. He came and really led by example. He didn’t say much. He did the same thing, the same routine. He really showed what a leader he is. I think every individual here did whatever we could to make sure he didn’t have anything else to think about. He had a hell of a game, and got us two points.”
Everyone was getting emotional on what he was going through and the teammates were there to support him.
Senators defenceman Marc Methot said:
“That was hard, especially when you got close to Andy and saw that he was getting a little emotional and had some tears. Any time you see a brother like that start to cry a bit and be emotional it just goes through the whole locker room.”
Anderson was alone, sitting with his head down, waiting in the hallway behind the Senators bench, while the three stars were being announced, as his teammates walked by in silence.
With the announcement of Anderson’s name as the first star of the night, the net minder skated onto the ice to a near thunderous applause from the fans in attendance
Even Oilers goaltender, Cam Talbot, stood at the opening to the hall from the other bench, showing his support to his opponent.
“Really classy. They have fantastic fans here, obviously. To see an opponent stay out there and show some respect is huge. It’s always nice to see some good sportsmanship out there.”
“I think it was special for our goaltender, his wife, his family, our players. I really respected the fact that the Oilers organization, the players, their fans showed a lot of respect and support.”
In support to Anderson, the Oilers coaching staff wore their purple “Hockey Fights Cancer” ties on the Edmonton bench.
Sens forward Bobby Ryan said:
“Emotional, I think, is one word. Leaving the Xs and Os aside, it was an emotional night for us as a team. What Andy did tonight was pretty incredible to be around.”
Anderson played bravely until the end without letting emotions take him over.
“As the game went on, you were watching Craig and you couldn’t help but be inspired by him.”
Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said:
“We expected that from that team. They’re proud players and they’re going to play that way for a teammate. He had an exceptional night.”
Oilers Captain Connor McDavid said:
“That’s what a team is all about. When one guy is in a bit of a situation and obviously it’s a terrible thing that’s going on, the other team battled harder and pulled out a great game for him.”
Nobody likes to lose, but Oilers were not gloomy about it, instead they whole heartedly appreciated and congratulated the Ottawa team, while showing support to Andrew in a completely emotional night.
Oilers winger Jordan Eberle:
“Our whole team feels for him. It’s pretty amazing that he got out there today and posted a shutout. Congrats to him for sure.”