Hymovitz proved to be a very valuable component for Binghamton last season. This season, with a very young team, his experience could be more valuable than ever. This is a very good move on the part of the Senators.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Hymovitz back with the B-Sens
Fan favorite welcomes shot in Binghamton
BY SCOTT LAUBER
Press & Sun-Bulletin
David Hymovitz was named the B-Sens' Man of the Year last March. Hymovitz doesn't have a contract yet, but is practicing with the B-Sens.
BINGHAMTON -- If it's late September, David Hymovitz must be playing hockey.
Even when he doesn't have a contract.
Hymovitz, the top penalty-killer on the inaugural Binghamton Senators club that fell three victories short of playing for the Calder Cup last spring, made a surprise appearance here Monday on opening day of AHL training camp and skated for 90 minutes with an eclectic mix of players sent down from Ottawa and free-agent invites.
"All summer, the (Ottawa) Senators said, 'We want you back, we want you back,' but I'm still talking with them," Hymovitz said. "I haven't signed anything yet, but I'm hoping it could happen today, tomorrow or later this week."
Hymovitz, 29, has been a dependable, two-way left winger in the AHL for the past seven seasons after a distinguished four-year career at Boston College. But offseason surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder and his veteran status (teams can dress only six players with more than 260 games of pro experience) have made it difficult to get a new deal.
For the first time in five seasons, Hymovitz wasn't invited to an NHL training camp, and after following Ottawa's camp last week via online newspaper reports, Hymovitz decided to get in line for an invite to the B-Sens' camp and spoke with coach John Paddock about skating here this week while his contract is finalized.
"This is my eighth year, and I've seen it all," Hymovitz said. "There are a lot of real good players out there with no job. Ottawa was good to me all summer, but I was starting to get a little uneasy the last few weeks when I was sitting home waiting."
When the finishing touches are applied to Hymovitz's contract, the Senators will have another proven player with a finishing touch around the net. He's scored 15 or more goals in all but two seasons and tallied 12 in his first 29 games last season before easing into a defensive role on the third and fourth lines and finishing the season with 15 goals.
More importantly, Hymovitz will bring experience and leadership to a team that didn't re-sign veterans Brad Smyth, Joe Murphy, Bob Wren, Steve Bancroft and Dean Melanson and lost captain Brian Pothier to a one-way contract that will land him in Ottawa.
"Hymo is somebody who's reliable, who can take charge a little bit," Paddock said. "He's no different (than the free agents in camp) in the sense that he doesn't have a contract yet, but based on the kind of person he is and what he can contribute, I think the chances are good he'll get signed."
That's great news for Hymovitz, who said he "knew this was the place I wanted to come back to after last season" and called Binghamton fans "the best crowd I've ever played in front of."
With lines like that, to say nothing of the charitable work he did in the community, it's no wonder Hymovitz was anointed the B-Sens' Man of the Year last March. And now he's talking about moving his young family from the Boston area to live here with him during the season.
For now, though, Hymovitz is just trying to get in shape. He shied away from contact to his shoulder Monday and said he likely won't begin absorbing checks until later this week. He worked privately on skating drills, performing figure-eights between face-offs circles late in Monday's practice at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
"I guess you could say I'm two weeks behind because I haven't had two weeks in Ottawa to get my hands and feet going like I'm used to," Hymovitz said. "But camp is camp. I've been skating at home all summer, so I don't think it's going to take too long to get where I need to be."
Assuming, of course, he signs a contract.
"I'm not worried about it," he said. "I've had a lot of conversations with John (Paddock), and I think I know where (the Senators) stand. Hopefully I'll be able to sign my name to something by the end of the week."