With Ottawa Senators’ goalie Marcus Hogberg deemed out of the lineup for one-to-two weeks with a lower-body injury suffered Thursday in Toronto, Joey Daccord will be recalled to serve as backup to starter Matt Murray Sunday when the Senators face the Montreal Canadiens. Daccord was re-assigned to the club’s taxi squad Saturday after allowing all five goals in a 5-2 Belleville loss to Laval Friday night.
The game Friday in Montreal completed a hectic period for the 24-year old. The week prior, Daccord started the Senators’ American League affiliate’s opener before heading to Toronto to join the parent team.
Thursday, Daccord ended up serving as Murray’s backup after Hogberg left that game during the first period. Upon its conclusion, Daccord headed back to Montreal for another stint with Belleville. Then hurried back to Ottawa to join Saturday’s practice.
Welcome to the life of a third goaltender during this Covid-shortened campaign.
NHL Teams are forced to carry an extra goalie all season and have to come up with ingenious ways to keep them active in case they’re called upon in a pinch.
For his part, Daccord is ready to play at anytime, but it’s not easy. The Boston area resident told Full Press NHL Saturday, “It’s definitely tricky, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter when you get the opportunity to play. You have to be ready, and you have to get yourself going – make the most of every opportunity. I think you can make excuses all you want for not having to play for however many months it’s been now – and only playing two games so far this year. You just got to be mentally focused as much as you can – take every opportunity for what it is – the opportunity to play, whether it’s the AHL or NHL, two of the best leagues in the world. Just have to make the most of it.”
Though Daccord took the loss Friday, it was more about just focusing on the gameday routine.
“It was great. I really enjoyed playing, just get back into a hockey game – just to get those game reps, I think it’s most important, the mental reps. I think I forgot how much a full 60 minutes is of playing goalie at such a high level. It’s demanding on you mentally and physically. Just going through that whole process, the pregame routines and getting good quality game reps is huge. I’m glad I was able to play two games. Hopefully, I’ll get more games moving forward.”
Daccord earned his spot to be the Senator’s third goalie by virtue of his stellar play last season. The team’s 2015 199th overall draft selection shuttled between the East Coast League Brampton Beast and Belleville in first pro season after leaving Arizona State University.
Daccord posted a 2.35 goals against average, .901 save percentage with the ECHL Beast and compiled a 15-6-2 record for AHL Belleville, which included a 2.61 GAA, .915 sv. pct.. The six-foot-two, 196-pound Daccord helped the Baby Senators land atop the North Division standings, six points ahead of the Rochester Americans when the league paused March 12.
Senators’ General Manager Pierre Dorion thought so highly of Daccord, he signed him to a three-year contract in October – with the final season, 2022-23 being one-way.
In a September media availability, the GM spoke highly of Daccord, “We feel we have depth and quality at the goaltending position – first and foremost Joey Daccord. We had a plan for him last year. We wanted him to spend half a year in the East Coast League and half a year in the American League. His numbers, his play, we went from a fourth-place team to a first-place team with Joey Daccord in our net. We feel he’s a very talented goalie.”
One bonus during the lull in games, Daccord is able to get more one-on-one tutelage from Senators’ goalie coach Pierre Groulx.
“It’s been great. Him and I have worked together a little more virtually over the years when I was in school and in summers when I can’t really work with him. This has been the first time where we’ve been able to work together pretty much every day when I’ve been on the taxi squad. It’s been really nice to further our relationship and learn more about each other. I think that’s been very helpful for us. And I think it’s made be a better goalie,” Daccord explained to Full Press.
Joey has the luxury of training with his dad, Brian’s group at Stopit Goaltending in Boston during the off-season. The senior Daccord has been a goalie coach for the Boston Bruins, Adler Mannheim in the German DEL, a consultant with the Maple Leafs, and is currently assistant GM and director of player personnel for the Arizona Coyotes.
One thing is for certain, Daccord feels he’ll be fully prepared for game action if his number is called. The Senators head into a stretch of eight games over the next 14 days, and Matt Murray won’t be able to go it alone.
“Absolutely, I’m excited for the opportunity, if it comes my way. I try to make the most of it. I’m pretty grateful to be in the position that I’m in. For me, I just have to take advantage, play my best, the way I know I can.”