There isn’t going to be much to celebrate this season, but the Ottawa Senators will have at least one special moment in 2019-20.
Ottawa announced it will retire Chris Phillips’ No. 4 in a ceremony to be held on Feb. 18, 2020 prior to a game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Phillips was a staple of the Senators’ glory years, spending his entire NHL career with the organization upon being selected first overall in the 1996 NHL Draft. The defenceman recorded 71 goals and 288 points in 1,179 games with the Senators, and retired in May 2016, last suiting up during the 2014-15 campaign.
“That's not even on the radar, for that to happen," Phillips said via NHL.com’s Callum Fraser. "Obviously, your dream growing up is to win a Stanley Cup. And that's really all that really matters. You never thought of retiring your jersey or anything like that. But as you get older, as you see that happen with [Daniel Alfredsson], guys you played with, that becomes a 'maybe' or a 'what if' or a 'wouldn't that be cool.' And to be there among the best that ever played for this team and be in the same sentence feels very special.”
Phillips helped the Senators reach the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, where they were ousted by a powerhouse Anaheim Ducks club in five games.
For large stretches of his career, the Senators were a perennial playoff contender, something that Phillips certainly takes pride in with enough time to reflect.
“I look at that whole run right from my very first year, I think for 12 or 13 years making the playoffs every single year," Phillips said. "I guess that speaks to how I felt as a player, that it was a team first."
It’s a well-deserved honour for Phillips, who never played a flashy game, but featured as the team’s defensive anchor during the glory years and that’s something to salute amid trying times.
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