Unrestricted free agent goaltender Craig Anderson, who is attending Washington Capitals‘ training camp on a professional tryout, said head coach Peter Laviolette told him “to show I can compete and contribute” in his first conversation with him.
As the Ottawa Senators, his former club, did not play a game after March 11 last season, Anderson said that he spent all of his free time taking a break, coaching his son’s baseball team, and spending time with his family. He got back into the gym four months ago and said it has been “tough to get ice” with the COVID-19 pandemic raging.
The 39-year-old said that “I’d like to give it a go and one more shot” and “I feel like I can contribute” when asked about how eager he is to keep playing. Anderson added that he feels good that he is doing it and is “excited to get back.”
On the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols this season, Anderson said “The protocols are definitely different but pretty self-explanatory, … straight forward.”
After becoming an unrestricted free agent on October 9, Anderson said that there was “a frenzy of talks” with teams when the market opened then they cooled off but started to ramp up again after the NHL announced each team would be playing 56 games this season.
Anderson told the media that he had a comfort level in Ottawa after 10 seasons with the organization but training camp this year is more about putting on the “work boots.” He added that he does not want to step on anyone’s toes.
On his Stanley Cup Playoff track record, Anderson said “you learn as you go” and “you appreciate the times you get in.” He said that he eventually learned how to elevate his game when he got there. Despite playing only 46 Stanley Cup Playoff games over his 18-season NHL career, Anderson is 23-22 with a .929 save percentage, a 2.35 goals-against average, and four shutouts in his postseason career.
On the possibility of playing with former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara after the two competed in the same division for nine consecutive seasons, Anderson said the signing “was kind of a surprise” and “a treat.” He called the 43-year-old defenseman a “super nice guy and super outgoing,” and said that Chara has made everyone feel comfortable in training camp so far.
Anderson said this training camp is “definitely different” after spending 10 seasons with the Senators but added that “I’ve been through it numerous times.”
By Harrison Brown