Today is the last day of the first decade of the third millenium. More important, it was the first hockey decade. After seeing other guys doing all-decade teams for their respective teams, I’m going to give it a shot. All in all, the decade was a very tumoltous one for Ottawa. After starting their new franchise off rough, there was promise going into this decade. The team did make the playoffs a large numer of times, but to no avail in the end. The first years were just continuing losses to the Toronto Maple Laffs, who weren’t that bad of a team early in the decade. When Ottawa made their first ever Eastern Conference Final in the 2003 Playoffs, everyone was in jubilation. This was a team to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately, they lost in 7 to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the New Jersey Devils. The following year came another loss to the Buds. I can clearly remember Game 7 in that series. All hands were on deck, and many analysts going with Ottawa. However, Patrick Lalime gave up a lot of beach balls, and they lost. The best team ever constructed in Ottawa Senators history in 2005-2006, teared through the regular season, but eventually fell to the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final. When the team finally made the Cup Finals in 06-07, they got pummelled by Anaheim Ducks. From their on then, everything fell apart. But enough history, here are the forwards of the all-decade team. Note that I will only talk about the first line of pairing.
Marian Hossa – Jason Spezza – Daniel Alfredsson
Dany Heatley – Radek Bonk – Martin Havlat
Milan Michalek – Mike Fisher – Alexei Kovalev
Shawn McEachern – Antoine Vermette – Chris Neil
That is one loaded lineup, if you ask me. When you have Alex Kovalev on the third line, you know you have tons of depth. Marian Hossa is the second best all-time Senator in my books, and is my favorite player of all-time. His shifty hands moved Corel Centre from one way to another. His knack for the net got him and the team many goals. In a team needed for European skill after being slapped in the face by every guy they hoped would give the team the elusive Cup, Marian Hossa gave us a glimpse of hope. Jason Spezza is the premier draft pick of the Senators. After trading Alexei Yashin for Spezza, Zdeno Chara, and Bill Muckalt. Spezza had had his ups and downs here, but he is a premier No.1 centre and I bet we wouldn’t have been as successful without him. What can I say about Daniel Alfredsson. He’s the best player to ever play with Ottawa, he has the most points, goals, assists, games played with Ottawa, and will become the first career Senator in a few years. He’s the best captain this team has ever had, and the first European captain to lead his team to the Stanley Cup Final. Drafted late, he defied the odds, and he’s now among the great captains of our generation.
Zdeno Chara – Wade Redden
Chris Phillips – Anton Volchenkov
Brian Pothier – Christoph Schubert
Zdeno Chara was a big, big guy. He could pummell anyone he could. The special thing about him is that he had great puck skills and a booming shot from the point. His presence in front of the net was needed, and many goals were scored from that. For some reason though, Ottawa chose the nest guy over him, which would prove to be the biggest mistake of the decade—in all the NHL. Wade Redden also had his ups and down here. He enjoyed very successful years here, and from there it just all went down the drain. Redden still gave this team a lot of goals and pucks to the net, where he had his success. His work i nthe city is fabulous, and you can never forget that.
Dominik Hasek’s time here was limited, but during that time he kept the Senators in the running every time. His unorthodox style excited many fans, and he may have led the Sens to the Cup is he didn’t get injured in Turin. Pascal Leclaire has just started his Sens’ career, but he shown to be the true No.1 goalie in Ottawa. He comes up huge a times and really keeps Ottawa in, night in and out. although Ottawa never had consistent goaltending, and there may be some controversary here, but these are the guys I would want on my team.
Now, for some downplaying! I’ll put up a post about tonight’s game later today. Till then, I guess.