Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson returns from leave as wife Nicholle battles cancer
'We're all behind him and we're going to do anything we can for both Craig and Nicholle'
Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson went on personal leave earlier this week as his wife Nicholle battles cancer but will be rejoining the team after fellow goalie Andrew Hammond was injured, general manager Pierre Dorion announced Saturday during an emotional interview in Edmonton.
Anderson is expected to start in Edmonton against the Oilers Sunday night.
Dorion said the Andersons were in a "wait period" for test results that will help determine a treatment plan, which allows Craig to return to the team, for now. He added that it was "very early in the process" following Nicholle's cancer diagnosis.
"We're very proud of Craig and Nicholle. He and his wife are dealing with a tremendous issue right now," he said.
"Family is way more important than hockey. But at the same time, Craig's family is this hockey team. And I think when you have those guys in that room that are going to embrace his presence and rally around him, I think it can only be beneficial for all parties."
He emphasized that all of Anderson's "hockey family" was there for support.
"We're all behind him and we're going to do anything we can for both Craig and Nicholle," he said.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SensArmy?src=hash">#SensArmy</a> and entire hockey world are behind you, Nicholle and Craig. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HockeyFightsCancer?src=hash">#HockeyFightsCancer</a>—@Senators
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sens?src=hash">#Sens</a> GM Pierre Dorion updates the media on Craig Anderson and the Sens’ current goaltender situation. <a href="https://t.co/SvjJtyviFl">pic.twitter.com/SvjJtyviFl</a>—@Senators
Nicholle asked Craig to return
"She was the one that said, 'Craig, your teammates need you right now.' We made this decision consulting with both Craig and Nicholle, their doctors and we all felt that because of this time frame, it was alright for him to join the team," he said.
"I think this is a tremendous gesture on behalf of Nicholle Anderson."
He said all further comments about Nicholle Anderson's condition will come from the Andersons.
2 goalies called up
The Senators announced on Thursday that Anderson was taking a leave after one game of a three-game western road trip but only said it was for a "personal matter at home."
Anderson also took a leave from training camp before the season began.
The Senators have called up goalie Matt O'Connor from the club's American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., Dorion said Saturday. Goalie Chris Driedger was previously called up to replace Anderson.
Dorion said both call-ups will stay with the team because it was unclear how long Anderson would stay with the team.
Hammond will be out for at least a week due to a lower body injury, Dorion said.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sens?src=hash">#Sens</a> Head Coach Guy Boucher speaks to media about Craig Anderson’s return. <a href="https://t.co/I53kbPObxF">pic.twitter.com/I53kbPObxF</a>—@Senators