Bracket busters: which NHL playoff Cinderellas could cause April madness?

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Why does college basketball get to have all the fun?

There’s something magical about the first four days of the NCAA tournament every year. Are you one of the people who enjoy the rounds of 64 and 32 more than the rest of the bracket and gradually tune in less and less, almost forgetting to watch the national title game? There’s a reason for that. The earlier rounds produce the upsets, the Cinderella stories that steal our hearts.

The home stretch of the NHL season has produced a few exciting Little Teams That Could, too. Which have the best potential to pull insane upsets come April, should they squeak into the bracket? A few come to mind immediately, one of which makes analytics advocates wet themselves, another of which is out to steal your Royale With Cheese.

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Andrew ‘Hamburglar’ Hammond makes miraculous glove save, ties 76-year-old record

Jared Clinton
Andrew Hammond (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

Andrew Hammond‘s run in goal for the Senators is starting to seem like a feel-good Disney movie.

The man affectionately called the ‘Hamburglar’ was at it again Tuesday night for the Senators, and he did what he’s done best since stepping between the pipes for Ottawa in mid-February. With the Senators on a penalty kill early in the third period, Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey found a wide-open Jordan Staal on the opposite side of the ice. Hainsey fired a pass across to Staal, who then proceeded to settle the puck down before wiring it on goal.

The puck looked destined for the back of the net. Or, at least, it did until Hammond came sliding across for a miraculous glove save: Read more

Watch Kyle Turris make spectacular overtime deke and potential assist of the year

Jared Clinton
Kyle Turris (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

Carolina Hurricanes coaches will have to forgive defenseman Ryan Murphy if he can’t bear to watch tape of Tuesday night’s overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators. After all, it was he who was on the receiving end of one of the best deke-to-pass assists of the season.

In the dying seconds of overtime, Senators center Kyle Turris cut right through the middle of the ice straight toward Murphy. Turris then pushed the puck out on his forehand before deftly slipping it between his legs and turning Murphy into nothing more than a moving obstacle. It doesn’t appear Murphy got even the smallest piece of Turris as he slipped around the check.

The deke itself would be enough to feel bad for Murphy, but the way it ends tops it off. Turris makes a quick backhand pass right on to the tape of Mark Stone who simply has to tap it in to the wide-open net. It’s beautiful to watch: Read more

Five freshmen exceeding all expectations in their rookie seasons

John Klingberg (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Andrew Hammond’s run between the pipes for the Ottawa Senators is one of the best stories of the season. He won’t, however, be getting a nod for the Calder Trophy anytime soon. It’s not because he’s undeserving, but rather because he doesn’t technically qualify.

Hammond was 26 before September 2014 and, as such, was too old to be eligible for the trophy as the league’s best rookie. He may have just had an outside shot at winning the thing if he were to muscle the Senators in the postseason, too. Alas, he’ll have to settle for free McDonald’s for the rest of his life.

So, while Hammond won’t be on this list of the top five unexpectedly good rookie seasons, here are several players who are turning heads in their freshman years: Read more

Prospect Hot List: Hunting for Hobey in Denver

Joey LaLeggia (Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The playoffs are almost upon us in major junior, while the NCAA conference tournaments are in full swing. Since some teams have already been eliminated, early signing season has begun too, with Brandon Montour leaving UMass for Anaheim and Ben Hutton ending his career in Maine to ink a deal with Vancouver. More are sure to come, but until then, here’s a look around the world of prospects.

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Ottawa’s Andrew ‘Hamburglar’ Hammond scores McDonald’s for life

Jared Clinton
Sens goalie Andrew Hammond holds up a hamburger thrown onto the ice after his shootout win over the Flyers. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Days after a fan tossed a McDonald’s hamburger onto the ice in celebration of a win by Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, the man lovingly referred to as the ‘Hamburglar’ has scored free McDonald’s for life.

The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan reported Monday night that John Bergeron, the owner of several McDonald’s restaurants in the Ottawa Valley area, made the move to call the vice president of marketing for McDonald’s to suggest the fast food chain provide burgers at the Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa’s home rink. The Toronto head office didn’t stop at a burger promotion, though. Instead, they extended a lifetime deal to Hammond. Read more

Ottawa sensation Andrew Hammond gets a hamburger salute from adoring fan

Adam Proteau
Sens goalie Andrew Hammond holds up a hamburger thrown onto the ice after his shootout win over the Flyers. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Senators goalie Andrew Hammond continued his tremendous play Sunday night with a 2-1 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers – and one of his adoring fans in Ottawa paid tribute to the man known as “The Hamburglar” by throwing a hamburger onto the ice at Canadian Tire Centre.

The 27-year-old Hammond, who improved his record this season to 10-0-1 with the win over Philly, stopped 27 of 28 Flyers shots in regulation and overtime, then shut out the trio of Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and captain Claude Giroux in the shootout to keep the Sens within five points of the Boston Bruins for the final wild card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. For his hard work, an Ottawa fan saluted him with a reference to his now legendary nickname: Read more

Top five feel-good goalie stories this NHL season

Devan Dubnyk

The NHL spotlight shines hotter for goaltenders than it does any other position player in the league, and while that pressure can be a burden, it can also produce some incredible feel-good stories.

Setting aside the typical injuries and starter/backup drama we see every season, there’ve been some pretty amazing goalie stories this year. Here are five goalies who you can’t help but feel happy for.
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