The first 10 years of the new millennium were a difficult time for the Ottawa senators for decades.
As a franchise company reborn in 1992, the senators came of age in 2000. In the ten years from 2001 to 2010, they posted at least 100 points and skipped the playoffs only once (2009). To this day, fans will be arguing over which was the best senator team ever, which team lost to the New Jersey Devils in the 2002/03 Eastern Conference Final, which reached the Stanley Cup final in 2006/07 or which in 2005-06- Edition that would have come to fame without an injury to goalkeeper Dominik Hasek.
Unfortunately, we are not discussing this decade, but the following, a decade in which two major changes have been made to a franchise company that missed the postseason five times and is expected to be six times successful in spring 2020.
Nevertheless, in the midst of a general downward trend in performance on ice, there were celebrated players and special moments. Here are three that stand out:
1. Daniel Alfredsson retires as a senator
Fans in Ottawa were disappointed when their beloved captain left the franchise in 2013 to end his Detroit Red Wings career.
So it was a joy in the capital when the man known as "Alfie" returned on December 4, 2014 as "Senator for a Day" and signed a one-day contract to officially withdraw from the NHL as a member of the senators. Led by director-general Bryan Murray, the senators enjoyed this moment when Alfredsson prepared himself for a pre-game warm-up with a dramatic on-ice move through a Ottawa teammate's reception line.
While No. 11 was skating like a member of the active squad, the fans sang: "Alfie !! Alfie !! and the Alfredsson goal song, U2's beautiful day, echoed through a crowded arena. Alfie played it to the limit, took part in warm-up exercises and stretched aside with his fellow leaders Chris Phillips, Erik Karlsson and Chris Neil as was his custom.
He did one last lap in the spotlight and ran to Center Ice, where his family was waiting for him, Ms. Bibbi and their four sons Hugo, Loui, Fenix and William. At that moment Alfie was holding the entire building in the palm of her hand.
"Thank you for all the great times and all the wonderful memories," Alfredsson told the crowd. "They will connect us with all of you forever."
As a moment of partnership for Alfredsson's resignation, Alfredssons # 11 was officially retired on December 29, 2016 during an emotional ceremony at the Canadian Tire Center.
2nd playoff run 2017
Categorize this in the category "Pleasant surprise". Not much was expected from a 2016/17 senator team that ended the playoffs with 85 points last year.
But a lot went well for Ottawa, including one of the best seasons in the career of goalkeeper Craig Anderson, who scored 2.28 goals in regular time – down from the average and 0.26 percent less before stopping the senators Playoff run to the Eastern Conference Final.
In the series, several players won against the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, including Bobby Ryan, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kyle Turris, Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman and Dion Phaneuf.
Phaneuf, Ryan, Turris, and Pageau won overtime in the spring, and Pageau had a four-goal game against the Rangers in game 2, including the overtime winner.
Nobody could have imagined the senators extending the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference finale, but they did – to double overtime in Game 7.
This target, a soaring, distant seer shot by Chris Kunitz, will be discredited in Ottawa, along with the end goal of Jeff Friesen's Game 7 conference from the New Jersey Devils in 2003.
"I think we did everything we could and at the end of the day it could have been either way, but they did it a bit longer than we did and a little better," said Karlsson after that Kunitz target. “We played the best team in the league and gave them a good game. From now on we are of course very disappointed with the loss and proximity, but we are still so far away. "
Although the run was fun, there are people who wonder if it would have been better if the club had started to rebuild earlier. In the fall of 2017, the senators added high-priced talents like Matt Duchene to reverse the field and declare a sell-off in 2018 after missing the playoffs.
Between spring 2018 and the close of trading in 2019, the senators had separated from elite talents such as Karlsson, Hoffman, Mark Stone and Matt Duchene. In the meantime, fans were looking for a future with bright new faces in the lineup.
3rd NHL 100 Classic at TD Place
Ottawa's outdoor game on December 16, 2017 could not have been more significant because it was at the interface between Canada's 150th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the first NHL game between Ottawa and Montreal.
The anniversary game, Ottawa's first as a modern outdoor host, did not disappoint. Early arctic weather – the temperatures dropped to minus 20 degrees with the cold – created a classic Canadian hockey scene in front of 33,959 fans at TD Place, the home stadium of Ottawa's CFL team. Balaclavas were popular and Mike Hoffman's beard was frosty.
Despite some numbness, Bobby Ryan, Jean-Gabriel Pageau (a notorious Habs killer) and Nate Thompson scored in a 3-0 win for Ottawa.
"I think it's the coldest I've ever been," said Ryan. "The fans came out and made it a hell of a good night by being loud and engaged. If the home team scores two points and the city can gather for a great event, it will get even better.
“It was worth every second. We had a great time. "
Ryan was right, the game was a testament for ice hockey fans in Ottawa. They not only defy the cold and the cost of tickets up to $ 400, but also the out-of-date comments from franchisee Eugene Melnyk. To the annoyance of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who was in town on the occasion, Melnyk indicated that the franchise should be relocated and that a planned move to the LeBreton Flats near Parliament Hill was not agreed. This part turned out to be prophetic since the proposed RendezVous LeBreton project was officially discarded in 2019.
The outdoor game itself will live on as one of the franchise's iconic moments.