Ottawa's NHL franchise. Entered league 1992. They play in the NHL: Northeast Division.
The team had bad luck with their first round draft choices in the formative years. Budding superstar Alexander Daigle was brought up too fast and flamed out early, unable to handle the pressure of being the young team's franchise player. Later the next bright light, Alexei Yashin, followed up an award-winning year by sitting out an entire season trying to get the team to renegotiate his contract. The team refused and ultimately traded Yashin after forcing him to play out his contract.
The team has been getting stronger every year. A crop of budding euro-stars lead the 2003/2004 offense: Team captain and right winger Daniel Alfredsson (Swedish), right winger Marian Hossa (from Slovakia) and centre Martin Havlat (a Czech). Late in 2004 the Senators added yet another talented right winger, Ukranian Peter Bondra. Together they gave the team the strongest set of right wingers in the league. On D, Zdeno Chara was a league leader in plus/minus in 2003-2004. In goal, Patrick Lalime blossomed into a strong and steady goaltender. Yet despite regular season success, none of this was sufficient in the playoffs.
For years the knock on the Senators was that they had yet to succeed in the Stanley Cup playoffs - being bounced from the 1st round in 4 straight by the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs in recent years, both times having entered the series as favourites. Again in 2002 the Leafs bounced them, in round 2 after they lead the series 3 games to 2. Finally in 2003 they reached the conference finals against the New Jersey Devils. 2004 ended in disappointment again, despite captain Alfredsson's brash prediction of a Cup victory. The Sens were bounced from the first round once again by the Maple Leafs, losing the seventh and deciding game 4-1.
After the lockout season, general manager John Muckler announced his intention to keep the Sens' core together fopr the 2005/2006 campaign. Sens' fans were split on the wisdom of this: they wanted to see their team compete for the Cup again, but were afraid the new salary cap would mean the loss of a key defenseman: either Chara or all-star Wade Redden. Things worsened when Hossa publicly compared himself to Jarome Iginla and demanded equivalent compensation. The Sens settled with Hossa for big money, then immediately traded him to the Atlanta Thrashers for Dany Heatley, saving some cap room and possibly letting the Sens retain both Chara and Redden.
In the 2002-2003 season the team was forced to enter bankruptcy protection. Despite having one of the league's lower payrolls the Sens couldn't meet payroll and expenses with their small market revenues. Owner Rod Bryden tried a series of bizarre tax shelter investment schemes, but all failed. At the end of the season billionaire Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Biovail Corporation, bought the team. Hopefully his deep pockets will enable the team to keep its nucleus of talent together.
A previous incarnation played 1901-1934 before becoming the St. Louis Eagles. This earlier team was one of four teams that founded the National Hockey League in 1917. They won the Stanley Cup in 1909, 1911, 1920, 1921, 1923 and 1927.
Team colors: Black, red, and gold
- #8 Frank Finnigan (from the 1920s team)
- #99 Wayne Gretzky (league-wide retirement)
Thanks to baritalia for correcting my scrambled national attributions for Marian Hossa and his teammates.