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Ottawa Senators
Sénateurs d'Ottawa
2020–21 Ottawa Senators season
Ottawa Senators 2020-2021 logo.png
Division North[lower-alpha 1]
Founded 1992
History Ottawa Senators
Home arena Canadian Tire Centre
City Ottawa, Ontario
Colours Black, red, gold, white[2][3]
Media English
TSN 1200
CJFO 94.5
Owner(s) Eugene Melnyk
General manager Pierre Dorion
Head coach D. J. Smith
Captain Vacant
Minor league affiliates Belleville Senators (AHL)
Stanley Cups 0[lower-alpha 2]
Conference championships 1 (2006–07)
Presidents' Trophy 1 (2002–03)
Division championships 4 (1998–99, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2005–06)
Official website

|The Ottawa Senators (French:Les Sénateurs d'Ottawa) are a professional men's ice hockey team based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Senators are the most recent Eastern Conference champions, holders of the Prince of Wales Trophy and runners-up in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals. The Senators play their home games at the 20,500 capacity Canadian Tire Centre (originally named the 'Palladium', and later the 'Corel Centre' which became 'Scotiabank Place').

Founded and established by Ottawa real estate developer Bruce Firestone, the team is the second NHL franchise to have the Ottawa Senators name. The original Ottawa Senators, founded in 1883, had a famed history, winning 11 Stanley Cups[4] and played in the NHL from 1917 until 1934. On December 6, 1990, after a two year public campaign by Firestone to return the NHL to Ottawa, the NHL awarded a new franchise, which began play in the 1992-93 season.

The club has seen its share of struggles, both on and off the ice. The team has had two changes of ownership, from Firestone, to Rod Bryden in 1993 due to the arena development process and its financing, and subsequently to Eugene Melnyk after the team filed for bankruptcy in 2003. On the ice, the club finished last in the league for its first four seasons. Changes in hockey management have led to steady improvement of the team's play, resulting in the team qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs each season over the last 10 years. Today, the club is among the most successful teams in the league, consistently finishing high in the standings. The team has several all-star players and one of the league's top lines, the "CASH" line.

Team history

See also History of the Ottawa Senators (1992-)

The "Bring Back The Senators" campaign

Ottawa had been the home of the original Senators, considered the best team in Canada in the first half of the 20th century.[5] Founded in 1883, the Senators were Stanley Cup champions in eleven seasons.[6] However, the club fell on hard times in the late 1920s and the franchise relocated to St. Louis after the 1933-34 season, playing one year as the Eagles before folding for good.

After the NHL announced its plans to expand in the late 1980s, Ottawa real estate developer Bruce Firestone thought that Ottawa was now ready for another franchise. His firm, Terrace Investments, launched a bid for the franchise. Firestone first told his fellow Terrace executives, Cyril Leeder, and Randy Sexton, after a game of shinny in March 1988.[7] Both were surprised; Leeder thought the idea was "ridiculous".[8]

Terrace did not have enough assets to finance the team, but Firestone believed that they could do so as part of a development project. Their plan was to build a mini-city (named 'West Terrace') of 9,000 in a 600 acre site around a $100 million arena and hotel development on 98 acres of vacant land. Getting an NHL club for the arena would drive up the price of the surrounding lands and Terrace's net worth would jump from $100 million to $400 million by 1997.[9] The strategy was straightforward: "buy the site, win the franchise, build the building."[10] In 1989, Terrace found a suitable site west of Ottawa in the then-suburb of Kanata on undeveloped farmlands.

Pre-launch logo 1989-1991

On June 22, 1989, Terrace publicly announced their intentions to acquire an NHL franchise and revive the Senators name.[11] The name choice provoked threats of legal action. Firestone, however, obtained permission from original-era / Senior Senators club owner Tommy Gorman's descendants to use the old Senators name and settled with the Ottawa Jr. Senators' owners.[12]

To kick off the "Bring Back the Senators" campaign, Terrace held a press conference with special guests Frank Finnigan, representing the old Senators' players, and Joe Gorman, representing the Gorman family. Finnigan, the last surviving member of the Senators' last Stanley Cup champion (in 1927), was presented with a new number 8 jersey and the promise to have him drop the first puck at the first game if they emerged victorious. Terrace unveiled drawings of the $55 million, 22,500 seat arena, now named the "Palladium", designed by Rossetti Associates, architects of the The Palace of Auburn Hills arena. Also unveiled was a logo for the team using a stylized Peace Tower and Canadian flag, designed by David O'Malley of Ottawa. The theme song for the franchise drive was Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down".[13]

The Senators' bid was considered something of a longshot. Jim Durrell, mayor of Ottawa at the time, but later part of the Senators' front office said "It's not that the area isn't a big enough market to support a professional hockey team, it's just that we're not going to get it."[14] NHLPA head Alan Eagleson was quoted as saying "local fans are being led through the petunia patch if Bruce Firestone thinks he can land an NHL expansion franchise for Ottawa this century, well into the next or ever."[15] Despite the naysayers, 11,000 fans sent in $25 non-refundable pledges toward season-tickets by November 1990.[16]

In December 1990 the NHL held a league meeting in Palm Beach, Florida to consider expansion applications. The NHL executives were reportedly impressed by the Ottawa presentation, including Finnigan's participation, the several hundred fans and the marching band who traveled to Palm Beach, but apparently were more impressed at the fact that the group was one of the few willing to pay the $50 million franchise fee without reservations.[17] On December 6, 1990, the Terrace group was approved to purchase one of the two franchises (along with the Tampa Bay Lightning) to start play in the 1992-93 season.[18]

Primary logo 1991-1997

Financing struggles

The Senators ran into financial trouble almost at once, as Terrace Investments needed to borrow money to meet the $50-million franchise fee. The original franchise fee had been expected to be $30 million. Terrace formed a limited partnership with community ownership,[19] the first investor being the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club, who with 66 other limited partners would own 48% of the club.[20] To complete the franchise fee payments, Ottawa high-tech mogul Rod Bryden would pay $3 million of his personal funds and become 50% owner of Terrace itself.

Since the location for the new arena was on land designated for agriculture, the new arena and development had to be approved by the Ontario government. The Ontario New Democratic Party government of Bob Rae was not sympathetic to the conversion of farmland and would not lend any assistance to the project. As the rezoning hearings dragged on, Firestone was offered $20 million to relocate to Anaheim, California, which had an arena, but no team. Firestone turned it down, claiming "I didn’t bring back the Ottawa Senators to play in Anaheim."[21] Eventually, the rezoning was approved with the club being forced to pay for all infrastructure required for the project. The Palladium's size was reduced to 18,500. Terrace was also forced to scrap its plans for the rest of the "West Terrace" development, which limited the site's value. According to Firestone, Terrace's investment lost $80 million in value to secure the zoning.[21] Eventually, the strain to complete the payment on the franchise to the NHL and to build the arena led to Firestone's resignation on August 17, 1993 after Terrace missed mortgage and development payments. He was replaced as club president by Rod Bryden, who would lead the franchise for the next ten years.

Financing of the arena project was difficult. Terrace had four financing deals fail.[22] As it became clear that the Senators could not finance a needed highway interchange without government backing,[22] the provincial government was persuaded successfully to provide a $27 million dollar loan for the highway interchange construction.[23] In the end, the firm of Ogden Entertainment, a New York city facilities management firm, backed the project with a $20 million loan[23] in exchange for a 30 year contract to manage the facility.[24] In addition, U.S. banks loaned $110 million, the federal government gave the Senators $6 million, $10 million from Terrace and $15 million from a Canadian pension fund.[23]

The Senators played the first game at the Palladium (today called Canadian Tire Centre) on January 17, 1996. It would only be known as the Palladium for one month. In February 1996, Corel Corporation bought the naming rights and the arena was renamed the Corel Centre. Following Firestone's original vision, the arena has become one of the driving forces for development in Kanata. What was once an arena surrounded by farmland is a growing commercial area.

The cost of the arena debt weighed heavily on the Senators. For several years, Bryden tried to reschedule the debt on the arena. There were various attempts at filing tax losses to write off the debt, all rejected by the federal government. In 2002, Ogden went bankrupt. It had re-invented itself as Covanta Energy and failed not long after the Enron scandal. This led to the Senators filing for bankruptcy on January 9, 2003, when it could not arrange financing to pay all it owed to Covanta, becoming due because of Covanta's bankruptcy.[25]

On August 26, 2003[26] the team and arena was purchased by Biovail CEO and Toronto St. Michael's Majors owner Eugene Melnyk who had shown interest for several years in the team. The limited partnership between Terrace and the limited partners was dissolved and Covanta's creditors received the proceeds of the sale towards the money it was owed for the NHL franchise fee and the Palladium.[25]

1992-1995: Expansion club struggles

The team would name Mel Bridgman as their first general manager (GM) in 1991. The decision was criticized by the press due to Bridgman's lack of GM experience. In the coaching department, the club would pick Rick Bowness, formerly the Boston Bruins head coach as their first head coach assisted by Alain Vigneault and Chico Resch. John Ferguson would be named director of player personnel.

The Expansion Draft of 1992 to provide some players from the other NHL teams did not provide much talent. The players the Senators did select were "journeymen NHLers or player who had good years in minor leagues but no longer were considered prospects."[27] In the Entry Draft, the Senators would name Alexei Yashin their first pick on the recommendation of Ferguson.


The new Senators played their first game on October 8, 1992, in the Ottawa Civic Centre against the Montreal Canadiens. There was lots of pre-game spectacle — the skating of Brian Orser, the raising of banners commemorating the original Senators' eight Stanley Cup wins,[28] retirement of Frank Finnigan's jersey number and the singing of the anthem by Alanis Morissette.[29]

NHL president Gil Stein took part, presenting Bruce Firestone with a "certificate of reinstatement" to commemorate Ottawa's return to the league after 58 years.[30] The ceremonial face-off between Laurie Boschman and Denis Savard was done by Frank Finnigan, Jr. (his father having died on Christmas day, 1991), Firestone, Stein, and original Senator Ray Kinsella.

The Senators would defeat the Canadiens 5–3 that night, but it would be one of the few highlights that season for the Senators. The club would tie with the San Jose Sharks for the worst record in the league that year, winning only 10 games with 70 losses and 4 ties (24 points) in the 1992-93 season. The Senators hold the NHL record for least road wins (1) for their record that season. Their points total for the season was one point better than the NHL record for least points in a season ever. The Senators had aimed low. Firestone had set beating the old record the Senators' goal for the season, as the team planned to finish low in the standings for its first few years in order to get high draft picks.

The Senators had big hopes for Alexandre Daigle(front) and Alexei Yashin(rear)


After the 1992-93 season, GM Mel Bridgman was fired and replaced by team vice-president Randy Sexton. In 1993-94, the club would add prospects Alexandre Daigle(front) and Alexei Yashin. Yashin would have an outstanding rookie season and become a finalist for the Calder Trophy in one of the few highlights for the Senators, who would again finish last in the league. The club would go on to finish last in the league in 1994-1995 and 1995-96 as well.[27]

Daigle Cup

Among the disappointments during the early years of the resurrected Senators was Alexandre Daigle, the number one overall pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. During the 1992-93 season, it had become clear that Daigle would be the number one pick. The Quebec Nordiques publicly announced that they would trade several players for him, as they wished to build a new arena and needed a marquee francophone player. As the season progressed, both the Senators and the San Jose Sharks were neck and neck in last place, and at that time, NHL rules meant the worst team would get the first pick. This 'competition' was variously dubbed the 'Daigle Cup' and the 'Yelnats Puc'.[31]

Near the end of the season, the Senators would call other teams to ask for their opponent's best players to be playing them in upcoming matches, making plans to field a weaker squad if their opponent did so also. After the season, Bruce Firestone would make comments to the press about how the team deliberately lost games, expecting that comments would be 'off the record'. Instead, his comments were reported, the NHL investigated, and the team was fined $100,000 for his comments.[31]

The Senators would sign Daigle to a $12.25 million contract, the largest rookie salary in league history,[32] which would lead to a cap on rookie contracts a few years later. The club would promote Daigle over Yashin, as seen in the yearbook photo. In 1993-94, Yashin would qualify as a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as outstanding rookie, although the Senators had promoted Daigle as their pick.

In the end Daigle did not come close to the career the Senators hoped for. After scoring only 74 goals in just over four seasons, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He is regarded as one of the biggest draft busts in sports history.[33] The NHL changed its rules as of the 1995 Draft so that a lottery would be held for the top draft picks.[34][35]

1995-1998: Ottawa's turnaround

In December 1995, one month before the Senators were to open the new Palladium, after three straight last place finishes, and poor attendance at the Civic Centre, the Senators organization was in turmoil.[36] Star player Alexei Yashin, angered that management favoured Daigle over him despite posting higher numbers, was a contract hold-out.[27] First round draft choice Bryan Berard, who had left the Senators training camp unsigned to a contract, had publicly stated that he would never report to the Senators.[36] After head coach Rick Bowness demoted Daigle had been demoted to the fourth line, general manager Randy Sexton fired Bowness and his assistant coach Alain Vigneault on November 20, 1995. He replaced the coaches with Prince Edward Island Senators coach Dave Allison and gave the assistant coach job to former Hartford Whalers head coach Pierre McGuire, who was working as a scout for the Senators.[37] Daigle was returned to full-time duty, but Sexton's changes did not improve the teams' play.

The situation was a big concern for the Senators ownership and especially for Ogden, which had a lot invested in the soon-to-open Palladium, and which did not want to open the Palladium to poor attendance. Ogden brought in Roy Mlakar to assist in sorting out the turmoil. He would eventually become team president and CEO, posts he still holds today.[38]

The turnaround process started with the firing of Sexton on December 11, 1995 and the hiring of Anaheim Mighty Ducks assistant GM Pierre Gauthier as GM, Ottawa's first with previous NHL executive experience.[39] Before the end of January, Gauthier had signed Yashin to a three-year contract, traded Berard to the New York Islanders for Wade Redden,[40] and hired Jacques Martin as head coach.[41]

Updated primary logo: 1997-2007

In the midst of the upheaval, the new Palladium had opened. The Senators, still coached by Allison, lost their first game in the arena 3–0 to the Montreal Canadiens on January 17, 1996. The event was much more subdued than their first game. The Cup banners were raised, but the winches jammed, blocking the view of many fans. There were no entertainment big names, and only Firestone and Bryden participated in the ceremonial face-off.[42] The club would lose its first four games at the Palladium, winning none for Allison who was fired on January 24 after the team lost 22 of 25 games. While Ottawa finished last in the league for the fourth year in a row, the 1995-96 season ended with renewed optimism, partly from the debut of new star Daniel Alfredsson, who won the Calder Memorial Trophy, the NHL Rookie of the Year Award, the first Senator to do so. Alfredsson, selected 133rd overall in 1994, was also selected to play in the 1996 NHL All-Star Game.

The 1996-97 season would see the Senators qualify for the playoffs for the first time, in dramatic fashion. They clinched the seventh seed on the last game of the regular season, thanks to a late goal from Steve Duchesne against Dominik Hasek, then of the Buffalo Sabres, giving the Senators a 1-0 win and the first playoff appearance for an Ottawa-based team in 67 years. The Senators then faced the Sabres in the first round of the playoffs and were eliminated in the full seven games. Despite holding a lead in game seven, Alexei Yashin put the puck in his own net, allowing Buffalo to tie the game and eventually win the game and the series on a goal by Derek Plante in overtime.[27]

The next season, 1997-98, the Senators improved further. They improved their regular season record, finishing with their first winning record in franchise history (one game over .500). In the first play-off round they upset the top-seeded and the heavily favoured New Jersey Devils in six games to win their first playoff series. The Senators next faced the eventual Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals and lost in five games.[27]

After the season, Rick Dudley would become general manager, after Gauthier returned to Anaheim to become the Ducks' general manager.[27] Dudley would be the Ottawa GM for only a year, leaving to join the Tampa Bay Lightning, (for which the Senators received Rob Zamuner as compensation)[43] and was replaced by Marshall Johnston.[44]

Ottawa's home logo: 1998-2007

1998-2003: Emergence as Stanley Cup contenders

The Senators have qualified for the playoffs every year since. However, they met with limited success at first, only winning five series in their first nine trips to the post-season.

In 1998-99, the Senators jumped from 14th in the previous season to 3rd, with 103 points--the first 100-point season in club history. However, they took an embarrassing pratfall in the playoffs; they were swept by the Sabres and only scored three goals in the process.

Ottawa was locked in a contract dispute with then-captain Alexei Yashin during 1999-2000. Yashin held out for the entire season, hoping either to play elsewhere or claim his contract was for 1999-2000, not a year of service. The team responded by suspending him for the entire season and granting the captaincy to Alfredsson, who still holds it today. Yashin tried to sign on with a team in Switzerland, but the International Ice Hockey Federation banned him from playing internationally until the dispute with the Senators was resolved. An NHL arbitrator rejected Yashin's request to make him a free agent, instead ruling that he owed the Senators one more season if he ever returned to the NHL. The Senators even took legal action to recover damages suffered as a result of the dispute.

Despite the distraction, the Senators' regular season was successful as they finished with 93 points to qualify for the playoffs in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Like the previous year, they had a quick playoff exit, losing in six games in the first round to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Senators' arena, Canadian Tire Centre, its name since 2013 since signing with Canadian Tire.

Yashin returned for the 2000-01 season, no longer the captain of the team. Despite being booed at home and in most arenas, being cursed as "Alexei Cashin" [45]or "Cashin Yashin"[46] by the fans, he played well for the Senators. And the Senators had another successful season, finishing with 109 points, winning the division and good enough for second in the Eastern Conference. For the third straight season, the Senators could not win a playoff round, losing again to Toronto in the first round, this time in a 4–0 sweep. After the season, on the day of the 2001 Entry Draft, Yashin would be traded to the New York Islanders for Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and the Islanders' first round draft pick (second overall), which the Senators used to draft Jason Spezza. Yashin would sign a $87.5 million ten-year contract with the Islanders.

In 2001-02, the Senators regular season points total dropped to 94 points, third in the division, but the team did qualify for the playoffs. Jacques Martin stepped aside as head coach for the final two games to allow assistant coach Roger Neilson to have 1,000 games as head coach in the NHL.[47] In the first round, they upset the Philadelphia Flyers in five games, limiting the Flyers' high-powered offence to just two goals for the franchise's second playoff series win. This led to a second round series with Toronto, the third straight year the Senators had met the Maple Leafs in a 'Battle of Ontario.' The Maple Leafs won the series in a tense seven-game affair, after the Senators had led the series 3–2 after five games.

After the disappointing end to the season, there was speculation that front-office changes were coming. In the end, GM Marshall Johnston retired, but Martin and Mlakar were re-signed.[48] John Muckler was hired on June 12, 2002[49], the Senators' sixth GM, and the first with previous experience as a general manager (with Buffalo). He had been interested in the Ottawa job in 1991, but he chose not to wait for the Senators to make him an offer, and he joined the Buffalo Sabres organization.

In 2002-03 off-ice problems dominated the headlines. The Senators filed for bankruptcy on January 9, 2003 after a long history of debt. They continued regular season play after getting some emergency financing from the NHL. Despite the off-ice problems, Ottawa won the Presidents' Trophy, finishing with a franchise-record 113 points, making them the first Canadian team to win it since the Calgary Flames in 1989. This was also the highest finish by an Ottawa team in 77 years (since the original Senators finished first overall in 1926). In the playoffs they defeated Yashin and his New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers before coming within one game of making it into the finals, falling to the eventual champions, the New Jersey Devils.

2003-04: End of the Jacques Martin era

Jason Spezza, now Ottawa's top center, was picked with the draft choice received for Alexei Yashin.

In the off-season, Eugene Melnyk would purchase the club to bring financial stability and the team entered the 2003-04 season with high expectations. Coach Jacques Martin would guide the team to another good regular season, finishing with 102 points. This was good for only third in the tightly-contested division, as the Bruins would have 104 and the Leafs 103.

The seedings meant that the Senators would play the Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2004 playoffs for the fourth straight time. By now, Ottawa had developed a strong rivalry with their Ontario cousins and there was a great deal of pressure on the team to finally defeat the Leafs. Despite missing their captain Mats Sundin and other veterans, the Leafs would win the series on the back of 'hot' goaltender Ed Belfour who had two shutouts, defeating the Senators in seven games. In the seventh game, Senators goaltender Patrick Lalime would surrender three goals before the first period was done and would be replaced by backup Martin Prusek. The Senators were not able to come back from the 3–0 deficit, losing 4–1.[50] It was Lalime's last appearance in a Senators' uniform, and Jacques Martin's last game as coach. Two days after the Senators' loss, Martin was fired.[51] Lalime was later traded to the St. Louis Blues for a 4th round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft.

After losing eight of twelve playoff series, including all four series in five years versus the Leafs, team management felt that a new coach was required for playoff success. Muckler even suggested that the new coach would have "to fix the dressing room", implying the team was not responding to Martin.[52] On June 8, 2004, Bryan Murray of nearby Shawville, Quebec, became the team's fifth head coach, leaving the Anaheim Ducks where he had been general manager. He would not actually coach until 2005 due to the NHL lockout, instead spending time on scouting.

2004-05: Lockout time

The Senators like the other NHL teams did not play during the lock-out. Most players chose to play in Europe, although some, like Jason Spezza played for the Senators farm team, the Binghamton Senators. Prior to the lockout, the Senators had acquired free agent goaltender Dominik Hasek. He did not play for any teams during the season, but did practice with Binghamton. Daniel Alfredsson had a very good season in Sweden, and his club team won the Swedish championship.

2005-06: High expectations unfulfilled

The 2005-06 NHL season was expected to be a strong season for the Senators. The media predicted the Senators to be Stanley Cup contenders, as they had a strong core back after the lockout, played in an up-tempo style fitting the new rule changes and Hasek was expected to provide top-notch goaltending. In another acquisition, the Senators acquired Dany Heatley in a blockbuster trade with the Atlanta Thrashers for Marian Hossa and Greg DeVries. The team rushed out of the gate, winning 19 of the first 22 games, in the end winning 52 games and 113 points, placing first in the conference, and second overall.

Forward Dany Heatley netted two consecutive 50 goal seasons in 2005-06 and the following year.

Heatley, together with Alfredsson and Spezza, formed one of the league's top offensive lines,[53] dubbed the "CASH line" by fans in a contest held by the Ottawa Citizen. The name is made from the initials of Captain Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley. [54] Cash Line won out over finalists 'Dash Line' and 'Dazzle Line,' which Spezza reputedly despised and wanted to veto.[55] However, during the press conference to introduce the teams for the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, Dany Heatley went on record to say he likes the 'Cash line' name.[56]

The line made a dramatic and historic debut, playing in the first game of the 2005-06 season on October 5, 2005, against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto. In the pre-season, right winger Brandon Bochenski had been playing on the line as he had played with Spezza in the AHL during the lock-out. But with five minutes to go, with the Senators trailing, then Senators' coach Bryan Murray replaced Bochenski with Alfredsson and Alfredsson scored a game-tying goal with 62 seconds left. Heatley and Alfredsson would then go on to score the first shootout goals in NHL history to win the game that night.[57]

Heatley became the first Ottawa Senator in franchise history to reach 100 points on April 13, 2006, recording two assists during a 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers and five days later became the first to reach the 50-goal mark. Meanwhile, defenceman Wade Redden became the first Senator to win the NHL Plus/Minus Award, tied with New York Ranger Michal Rozsival, with a +35.[58]

The acquisition of Hasek was ill-fated, as Hasek suffered an adductor muscle injury while playing for the Czech national ice hockey team during the 2006 Winter Olympics.[59] He had played only one game for the Czech team and returned to Ottawa to heal. He would not play for the Senators again. Rookie netminder Ray Emery took over the starting goaltender duties and played well helping the team to finish first in the Eastern Conference and the second-best record in the league.

Despite the regular season success, the team entered the playoffs under a cloud as the media was predicting an early Senators demise due to Hasek's absence.[60] In the first round, Emery would become the first rookie netminder since Philadelphia's Brian Boucher in 2000 to win a playoff series when the Senators defeated Tampa Bay, four games to one. The Senators then played the Buffalo Sabres in the second round, a series in which all games were decided by one goal. The Sabres won the first three, the Senators would win the fourth to stave off elimination, but the fifth would be won by the Sabres.

This was the last hurrah for several Senators, as Zdeno Chara, Dominik Hasek, Martin Havlat, Bryan Smolinski and Brian Pothier all left the team after the season. Chara, Hasek and Pothier left as free agents, while Havlat and Smolinski were traded.

2006-07: Trip to the Stanley Cup Finals

The Senators' season went off to a poor start, and was marked by a struggle to reach a .500 win-loss ratio. Until December, the team had a 21-18-1 record; however, they had much more success in the remaining half of the season, eventually finishing second in the division after the President's Trophy-winning Buffalo Sabres and earning the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. They ultimately finished with 105 points, their fourth straight 100-point season and sixth in the last eight.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson improved his play in the Playoffs, tallying the playoff leading 22 points

In the playoffs, Ottawa's fourth placing in the Conference meant that the first-round playoff series was against the fifth-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Some media were expecting the Penguins to win the series because the Penguins had won the season series, the Senators' past playoff troubles and the strong young talent of the Penguins, including Sidney Crosby.[61] However, the Senators won easily by a score of four games to one, including a 3-0 win in the fifth game. This was the only series where the Senators were the higher-seeded team.

The second-round series was versus the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils, in a rematch of the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals. The Senators again won by a score of four games to one.

Next, the Senators faced off against the Buffalo Sabres in the Conference Final, looking to get even for losing to the Sabres in the 2006 playoffs. The Senators took the series, again by a score of four games to one, earning the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference Champion and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, to face the Western Conference champion Anaheim Ducks. Daniel Alfredsson scored the series-winning goal, (see video) in overtime, redemption for being beaten a year before on the goal that eliminated the Sens from the playoffs. It was also the first series win by the Senators against the Sabres.

First Stanley Cup finals in the capital in 80 years

The 2006-07 Senators thus became the first Ottawa team to be in the Stanley Cup Finals since the 1927 Stanley Cup Finals. Despite the 80 year gap, one fan attended games both the 1927 and the 2007 Finals. The third game of the series and first home game for Ottawa on June 2, was attended by 99–year old Russell Williams as a guest of the Senators. He had attended the last Finals game in Ottawa on April 13, 1927, played in the old Ottawa Auditorium.[62] Both the 1927 and 2007 games were won by the Senators.[62]

It marked the first time that a NHL team captain from Europe had made the finals, as Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is from Sweden. Previously, only Americans or Canadians had captained teams in the Finals. Alfredsson would be one of the bright lights for the Senators in the series, as he had been in all of the playoff series. But he would be one of the few bright lights as Anaheim won the series in five games bolstered by strong defensive play and opportunistic scoring.

The first two games were in Anaheim, both won by the Ducks by one goal margins. Game three went to the Senators, but game four in Ottawa was won by the Ducks, for an insurmountable 3 games to 1 lead. The Ducks would finish the series in game five at home. The Ducks had been favoured to win the Cup since before the season started.[63] The Senators were the third consecutive Canadian franchise to reach the Final and they suffered the same fate as the Calgary Flames of 2004 and the Edmonton Oilers of 2006.

Sens Mile

Ottawa City Hall before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals

The city was swept up in the excitement of being in the finals.[64] Businesses along all of the main streets posted large hand-drawn 'Go Sens Go' signs, residents put up large displays in front of the their homes or decorated their cars.[65] A large Ottawa Senators flag was draped on the City Hall, along with a large video screen showing the games. A six-story likeness of Daniel Alfredsson was hung on the Corel building[66] and the Senators organization held rallies at City Hall, and car rallies of decorated cars paraded from Lynx stadium, through downtown to Scotiabank Place.[67] But the fans on their own inaugurated the 'Sens Mile.'

Much like the Red Mile in Calgary during the Flames' 2004 cup run and the Blue Mile in Edmonton during the Oilers' 2006 cup run, Ottawa Senators fans took to the streets to celebrate their team's success. The idea to have a Sens Mile began as a grassroots campaign on Facebook by Ottawa residents before Game 4 of the Ottawa-Buffalo Eastern Conference Finals series.[68]

Elgin Street after the Senators Game 3 win.

Their idea was to use Elgin Street as a gathering place for Sens fans to celebrate after games won. Since Scotiabank Place is located in suburban Ottawa, spontaneous celebration did not occur during the Senators' cup run until that point, like it did in cowtown and Edmonton where the arenas are located more centrally. When the Senators beat the Sabres in Game 5, people flocked to Elgin Street in celebration. After the Senators won Game 3 of the Final, fans celebrated on Elgin Street once again, and Ottawa Police closed the street down.


Main article: 2007-08 Ottawa Senators season

The Senators made major changes in their hockey staff during the off-season. On Sunday, June 17, 2007 general manager John Muckler was fired; he had been in the last year of his contract. Head coach Bryan Murray was promoted to GM.[69] On July 5, 2007 he hired his nephew Tim Murray as assistant GM,[70] followed by the promotion of assistant coach John Paddock to head coach on July 6, 2007.[71] On August 15, goaltending coach Ron Low was named as assistant coach and Eli Wilson was named goaltending coach. Assistant coach Greg Carvel retained his duties.[72]

A major incident occurred in the pre-season game against the Philadelphia Flyers on September 25. Ottawa forward Dean McAmmond was hit in the head by the Flyers' Steve Downie. Downie was given a match penalty as McAmmond was diagnosed with a concussion, later won by the Senators up by two goals.[73] Downie was suspended for 20 games,[74] adding a 9 game suspension from the American Hockey League. Later on the Senators won all 7 of their pre-season games,[75] followed by a five game undefeated streak to begin the regular season.

On November 5 2007, the Ottawa Senators set a franchise record eighth straight win with their victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.[76] On November 6, six Senators were named to the All-Star Game ballot: Daniel Alfredsson, Ray Emery, Dany Heatley, Chris Phillips, Wade Redden and Jason Spezza, the most from any one team in the NHL.[77]

Team information

Current home and away jerseys

Logo and jersey design

The team colours are red, black and white, like the original era Senators, and like other Ottawa sports teams (such as the Ottawa Renegades, Rough Riders and 67s), with added trim of gold. The team's away jersey is mostly white with red and black trim, while the home jersey is red, with white and black trim.

The club logo is officially the head of a Roman general, a member of the Senate of the Roman Empire,[78] projecting from a gold circle. There have been several versions. The original, unveiled on May 23, 1991, described the general as a "centurian figure, strong and prominent" according to its designer, Tony Milchard.[78] Milchard intended the logo to be similar to that of the Chicago Blackhawks head logo. Leaked before its unveiling, the logo design was unpopular with fans, being compared unfavourably to the American Express card, the USC Trojans and the Trojan condom.[78] The original had the words "Ottawa Senators" within the circle. This logo was slightly revised in 1998 to remove the team name from the gold circle and replace it with laurels.

Jerseys 2000–2007, white(1992), red (1998) and black (2000).

In 1998, the Senators unveiled their alternate logo, taking the head, which had been in profile, and rotating it so that it was face-first. The new logo was unveiled with a new red home jersey, at the start an alternate jersey.[79] On the shoulder, the original logo was used as a shoulder patch. The original dark jersey, (then the 'away' jersey) which was mostly black, was retired after the season. The red jersey was in use until 2007.

Starting in July 2000, the Senators reused the alternate logo on another third jersey, designed by Ottawa firm Hoselton Brunet, this one black with red and gold sleeves and a gold stripe with laurel leaves along the bottom of the jersey.[80] On the shoulders, was a modified version of the original Peace Tower logo of the expansion campaign, which the management liked.[80] Like the original logo, this design was leaked onto the Internet.[80] This jersey was in use until 2007 also.

New 'old' shoulder-patch logo

On August 22, 2007, the Senators unveiled a set of new jerseys, which have a more refined, streamlined look to them,[81] designed by Ottawa firm Acart Communications. The team retired all three previous jerseys and will not have a third jersey for the current season. The updated look comes in conjunction with the launch of the new Rbk EDGE jerseys by Reebok, adopted league-wide for the 2007-08 NHL season.

At the same time, the team updated its logos. The new primary logo is an update of the old secondary logo, which according to team owner Eugene Melnyk, "represents strength and determination."[82] The logo was modified in several ways, updating the facial features, removing facial colouring, reducing size of the gold semi-circle and updating the cape of the warrior.[83]The new secondary logo is an update of the old primary logo. Only the primary logo will appear on the jerseys, as the secondary logo will be on Sens' merchandise. The new shoulder patch 'O' logo replaces the winged 'S' 'established MDCCCXCIV' (1894) shoulder patch with the jersey logo of the original Ottawa Senators club.[83]


Main article: Spartacat

Spartacat, the official mascot of the Senators, is an anthropomorphic lion. He is unable to talk but expresses himself through 'wild gestures' and a 'constant smile'. He appears at all Senators home games and makes special appearances at charity and community events. He made his debut on Senators' opening night October 8, 1992.[84]

Sens Army

The fans of the Senators are known as the Sens Army.[85] Like most hockey fanatics, they are known to dress up for games; most in some sort of Roman legionary clothing. For the 2006-2007 playoff run, more fans then ever before would wear red, and fan activities included 'Red Rallies' of decorated cars, fan rallies at Ottawa City Hall Plaza and the 'Sens Mile' along Elgin Street where fans would congregate.[86] At many home games the fans are entertained both outside and inside Scotiabank Place with a myriad of talent - live music, rock bands, giveaways and promotions. The live music includes the traditional Scottish music of the 'Sons of Scotland Pipe Band' of Ottawa along with highland dancers.[87]


On television, home and away games are broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and A-Channel. The Senators are restricted to broadcasting to the Ottawa River valley and Eastern Ontario. Rogers Sportsnet also broadcasts games into Quebec and the Maritime provinces. National coverage is less frequent; however national broadcasting is usually done by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which has increased the number of Senators games broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada in 2006-07 compared to previous seasons.

Several games are only available in video on pay-per-view at local movie theatres in the Ottawa area. The play-by-play for these pay-per-view games are usually done by Dean Brown, often known as "the voice of the Senators,"[88] and Gord Wilson with the color commentary. This started in the 2006-07 season, with a broadcast of a game at Detroit on December 12, 2006.

On radio, all home and away games are broadcast on a network of local stations in eastern Ontario. The 'flagship' radio station is the Ottawa station 'Team 1200', which produces the broadcasts and provides the play-by-play announcers. The Team 1200 audio is available over the Internet, and games are simulcast from the NHL main web site.

Attendance and Revenues

Home attendance in the 2006-07 regular season was 794,271, with 31 sell-outs out of 41 home dates or an average attendance of 19,372. This was the second-highest total in Senators's history, after the 2005-06 season total of 798,453 and 33 sell-outs. In the playoffs, the Senators played 9 games with 8 sell-outs and an attendance of 181,272 for an average of 20,141, the highest in team history.[89]

On November 8, 2007, a Forbes Magazine report valued the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club at $186 million, (14th highest in NHL) with an operating income of $10.4 million (7th highest) on revenues of $93 million (7th highest) in 2006-07. Revenues and income were the team's highest in its history. The gate receipts for the 2006-07 season were $45 million. Forbes estimates that the organization has debt of $109 million, including arena debt.[90] Eugene Melnyk bought the team for $92 million in 2003.[91]

Bell Sensplex

In 2004, the Senators, in a partnership with the City of Ottawa, built the Bell Sensplex, a four-pad ice facility, for community and team use. Opened in December 2004, it is used for team practices and minor hockey. The facility is the main arena for the annual Bell Capital Cup, open to 'atom' and 'pee-wee' age group teams, held between Christmas Day and New Year's. The tournament attracts over 500 teams annually and bills itself as "the world's largest hockey tournament."[92] The Sensplex is located near Scotiabank Place in the Kanata district of Ottawa.

Season-by-season record

The Senators won the President's Trophy in the 2002–03 season for placing first in the league overall during the regular season. The team was defeated in the Eastern Conference Final. During the 2004–05 NHL season, the team operated its affiliated teams and office, but the team itself did not play due to the lockout. The team advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in the 2006–07 season but lost in five games. In 2016–17, the Senators advanced to the Eastern Conference Final again, but lost in the seventh game in double overtime.

Stanley Cup Champions Conference Champions Division Champions League Leader

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties In Minutes


Season Team GP W L T OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
1992–93 1992–93 84 10 70 4 24 202 395 1716 6th, Adams Did not qualify
1993–94 1993–94 84 14 61 9 37 201 397 1710 7th, Northeast Did not qualify
1994–95[a] 1994–95 48 9 34 5 23 117 174 749 7th, Northeast Did not qualify
1995–96 1995–96 82 18 59 5 41 191 291 1553 6th, Northeast Did not qualify
1996–97 1996–97 82 31 36 15 77 226 234 1087 3rd, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Sabres)
1997–98 1997–98 82 34 33 15 83 193 200 1091 5th, Northeast Won Conference Quarterfinals, 4–2 (Devils)
Lost Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Capitals)
1998–99 1998–99 82 44 23 15 103 239 179 892 1st, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Sabres)
1999–2000 1999–2000 82 41 28 11 2[b] 95 244 210 850 2nd, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Maple Leafs)
2000–01 2000–01 82 48 21 9 4 109 274 205 1062 1st, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Maple Leafs)
2001–02 2001–02 82 39 27 9 7 94 243 208 1347 3rd, Northeast Won Conference Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Flyers)
Lost Conference Semifinals, 3–4 (Maple Leafs)
2002–03 2002–03 82 52 21 8 1 113 263 182 1135 1st, Northeast Won Conference Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Islanders)
Won Conference Semifinals, 4–2 (Flyers)
Lost Conference Finals, 3–4 (Devils)
2003–04 2003–04 82 43 23 10 6 102 262 189 1270 3rd, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Maple Leafs)
2004–05[c] 2004–05 Season cancelled due to 2004–05 NHL Lockout
2005–06 2005–06 82 52 21 [d] 9 113 314 211 1462 1st, Northeast Won Conference Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Lightning)
Lost Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Sabres)
2006–07 2006–07 82 48 25 9 105 288 222 1173 2nd, Northeast Won Conference Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Penguins)
Won Conference Semifinals, 4–1 (Devils)
Won Conference Finals, 4–1 (Sabres)
Lost Stanley Cup Finals, 1–4 (Ducks)
2007–08 2007–08 82 43 31 8 94 261 247 1175 2nd, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Penguins)
2008–09 2008–09 82 36 35 11 83 217 237 1098 4th, Northeast Did not qualify
2009–10 2009–10 82 44 32 6 94 225 238 1076 2nd, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Penguins)
2010–11 2010–11 82 32 40 10 74 192 250 1149 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2011–12 2011–12 82 41 31 10 92 249 240 1145 2nd, Northeast Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Rangers)
2012–13[e] 2012–13 48 25 17 6 56 116 104 655 4th, Northeast Won Conference Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Canadiens)
Lost Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Penguins)
2013–14 2013–14 82 37 31 14 88 236 265 1094 5th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2014–15 2014–15 82 43 26 13 99 238 215 841 4th, Atlantic Lost First Round, 2–4 (Canadiens)
2015–16 2015–16 82 38 35 9 85 236 247 892 5th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2016–17 2016–17 82 44 28 10 98 212 214 848 2nd, Atlantic Won First Round, 4–2 (Bruins)
Won Second Round, 4–2 (Rangers)
Lost Conference Finals, 3–4 (Penguins)
2017–18 2017–18 82 28 43 11 67 221 291 667 7th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2018–19 2018–19 82 29 47 6 64 242 302 693 8th, Atlantic Did not qualify
Regular season totals1 2068 923 878 115 152 2113 5902 6147 28430 4 division titles Playoffs
Playoff totals2 151 72 79 357 372 2109 All time series record: 11–16
Grand totals3 2219 995 957 115 152 2113 6259 6519 30539

  • a The season was shortened to 48 games because of the 1994–95 NHL lockout.[94]
  • b Beginning with the 1999–2000 season, teams received one point for losing a regular-season game in overtime.[95]
  • c The season was cancelled because of the 2004–05 NHL lockout.[96]
  • d Prior to the 2005–06 season, the NHL instituted a penalty shootout for regular-season games that remained tied after a five-minute overtime period, which prevented ties.[97]
  • e The season was shortened to 48 games because of the 2012–13 NHL lockout.[98]
1 Totals through the 2018–19 season
2 Totals through the 2018–19 season
3 Totals through the 2018–19 season

See also


All-time playoff record versus opponents

Team SP SW SL Pcnt GP W L Pcnt GF GA OT H AW
Anaheim Ducks 1 0 1 .000 5 1 4 .200 11 16 0-0 1-1 0-3
Buffalo Sabres 4 1 3 .250 21 8 13 .381 47 52 3-5 2-8 6-5
Montreal Canadiens 2 1 1 .500 11 6 5 .545 32 21 1-2 3-2 3-3
New Jersey Devils 3 2 1 .667 18 11 7 .611 41 40 4-1 7-2 4-5
New York Islanders 1 1 0 1.000 5 4 1 .800 13 7 1-0 2-1 2-0
New York Rangers 1 0 1 .000 7 3 4 .429 13 14 2-0 1-3 2-2
Philadelphia Flyers 2 2 0 1.000 11 8 3 .727 28 12 2-1 4-1 4-2
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 1 3 .250 20 7 13 .350 53 72 2-1 3-7 4-6
Tampa Bay Lightning 1 1 0 1.000 5 4 1 .800 23 13 0-0 2-1 2-0
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 0 4 .000 24 8 16 .333 42 57 1-4 5-6 3-10
Washington Capitals 1 0 1 .000 5 1 4 .200 7 18 0-0 1-1 0-3
Totals 24 9 15 .375 132 61 71 .462 310 322 16-14 31-32 30-39

Statistics above are correct as of the end of the 2014–15 season.

Source: Ottawa Senators[99]

Team captains

Honoured members

Hall of Famers

  • Roger Neilson - Senators assistant coach & head coach (2001-03), was inducted on November 4, 2002 (as a Builder) for his career in NHL coaching.

Retired numbers

8 - Frank Finnigan, on opening night, October 8, 1992. Finnigan was honoured for his play from 1923 through 1934 for the original Ottawa Senators (as a right wing, 1923-31 & 1932-34). He was the last surviving Senator from the Stanley Cup winners of 1927 and participated in the 'Bring Back The Senators' campaign.

99 - Wayne Gretzky, on February 6, 2000. Gretzky's sweater number was retired league-wide by the NHL.

Source: NHL staff (2001). National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2002. Dan Diamond & Associates. 

First-round draft picks

Source: Ottawa Senators staff (2007). Ottawa Senators Media Guide 2007-08. Ottawa Senators. 

Team scoring leaders

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history, post-1992, after the 2006-07 season:

Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Daniel Alfredsson RW 1178 426 682 1108 .94
Jason Spezza* C 686 251 436 687 1,001
Alexei Yashin C 504 218 273 491 .97
Wade Redden D 838 101 309 410 .49
Radek Bonk C 689 152 247 399 .58
Marian Hossa RW 467 188 202 390 .84
Dany Heatley LW 317 180 182 362 1,14
Mike Fisher LW 675 167 181 348 .52
Shawn McEachern LW 454 142 162 304 .67
Chris Phillips* D 1143 71 214 285 .25

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Senators player

Source: Ottawa Senators staff (2007). Ottawa Senators Media Guide 2007-08. Ottawa Senators. 

Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

NHL awards and trophies

Team records

Franchise record Name of player Statistic Year(s)
Most Goals in a season Dany Heatley 50 2005-06
Most Assists in a season Jason Spezza 71 2005-06
Most Points in a season Dany Heatley 105 2006-07
Most Points in a season, defenseman Erik Karlsson 78 2011-12
Most Points in a season, rookie Alexei Yashin 79 1993-94
Most Penalty Minutes in a season Mike Peluso 318 1992-93
Highest +/- rating in a season Daniel Alfredsson +42 2006-07
Most playoff games played Daniel Alfredsson 99 (milestone)
Most goaltender wins in a season Patrick Lalime 39 2002-03
Most shutouts in a season Patrick Lalime 8 2002-03
Lowest G.A.A. in a season Ron Tugnutt 1.79 1998-99
Best SV% in a season Dominik Hasek .925 2005-06

Source: Ottawa Senators staff (2007). Ottawa Senators Media Guide 2007-08. Ottawa Senators. 



  • Finnigan, Joan (1992). Old Scores, New Goals: The Story of the Ottawa Senators. Quarry Press. ISBN 1550820419. 
  • MacGregor, Roy (1996). Ottawa Senators. Creative Education. ISBN 0886826829. 
  • MacGregor, Roy (1993). Road games : a year in the life of the NHL. Macfarlane Walter & Ross. ISBN 0921912587. 
  • McKinley, Michael (1998). Etched in ice : a tribute to hockey's defining moments. Vancouver: Greystone Books. ISBN 1550546546. 
  • NHL staff (2001). National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2002. Dan Diamond & Associates. 
  • Robinson, Chris (2004). Ottawa Senators : great stories from the NHL's first dynasty. Altitude Publishing. ISBN 1551537907. 
  • Stein, Gil (1997). Power Plays: An Inside Look at the Big Business of the National Hockey League. Birch Lane Press. ISBN 1559724226. 


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  100. Presidents' Trophy. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  101. Prince of Wales Trophy. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  102. Calder Memorial Trophy. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
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  104. Jack Adams Award. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  105. Career Stats for Daniel Alfredsson. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  106. Career Stats for Sami Salo. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  107. Career Stats for Marian Hossa. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  108. Career Stats for Martin Havlat. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  109. Career Stats for Andrej Meszaros. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  110. Career Stats for Dany Heatley. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  111. Career Stats for Alexei Yashin. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
  112. Career Stats for Dany Heatley. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.

See also

External links

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