|2007-08 Ottawa Senators|
|General manager||Bryan Murray|
|Coach||John Paddock (Oct-Feb) |
Bryan Murray (Feb-Apr) interim
|Alternate captains||Chris Phillips|
|Average attendance||19,821 (103.5%)|
|Goals||Dany Heatley (41)|
|Assists||Jason Spezza (58)|
|Points||Jason Spezza (92)|
|Penalty minutes||Chris Neil (199)|
|Plus/minus||Dany Heatley (+33)|
|Wins||Martin Gerber (30)|
|Goals against average||Martin Gerber (2.72)|
The 2007-08 Ottawa Senators season was the 16th season of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Senators started strongly in the regular season, but the team slumped after Christmas, and just barely qualified for the playoffs. The slump caused the Senators to fire John Paddock, who was in his first season as head coach. The Senators lost in the first round, losing in a sweep by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Prior to the season, the Senators changed their staff, promoting Bryan Murray to general manager and John Paddock to head coach. Previous General Manager John Muckler did not accept another position with the Senators and resigned. Two players, Mike Comrie and Tom Preissing, left as free agents, and Peter Schaefer was traded to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Shean Donovan.
In the pre-season, a major incident occurred in the game against the Philadelphia Flyers on September 25. Early in the second period, forward Dean McAmmond was hit in the head by Steve Downie of the Flyers. Downie was given a match penalty with an automatic suspension. McAmmond was diagnosed with a concussion. Four Flyers players were eventually injured in the match, which was won by the Senators by two goals. Steve Downie was eventually suspended for 20 games for the hit, also adding a nine-game suspension from the NHL's affiliate, the American Hockey League (AHL). The Senators won all seven of their pre-season games, the only NHL team to do so that year.
The Senators opened the regular season with two straight wins over their rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in the Battle of Ontario. The season opener at Toronto ended in overtime with right winger Dany Heatley notching two goals and an assist to start the season off 1-0-0. That afternoon, Heatley also agreed to a new contract, a six-year, $45 million deal. The Senators earned another win the following day in their home opener, with captain Daniel Alfredsson scoring two goals. Before the game, the 2007 Eastern Conference Champions banner was raised to the rafters of Scotiabank Place.
The Sens went undefeated to start the season until the streak was snapped in their sixth game with a 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on October 11. In a later win against the Montreal Canadiens, rookie Nick Foligno scored his first NHL goal off a wrap-around attempt on goaltender Carey Price. He celebrated the goal by imitating his father Mike's signature goal celebration, a high jump.
After an 8-1 record to start the season, and with a one-week break, Head Coach John Paddock organized a team retreat to the Muskoka, Ontario, area starting on October 21. With their win over the Maple Leafs on November 6, the Senators set a team record by recording their eighth consecutive win. They also set an NHL record for the best start to a season after 14 games.
Also 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 players from any one team in the NHL. As of December 5, Daniel Alfredsson trailed only Sidney Crosby in the Eastern Conference voting for forwards with 119,825 votes.
After a 4-2 win against Montreal, the Senators entered into a seven-game losing skid (0-4-3), recording three points and matching a record for straight losses set in the 1995-96 season. The Senators then rebounded with a six-game winning streak.
On January 2, 2008, Head Coach Paddock was named to coach the Eastern Conference All-Star team and Jason Spezza was named the NHL's First Star of the Month for December. On January 8, Daniel Alfredsson was named to the starting lineup for the All-Star Game, based on fan voting. He is the first Senator ever to be voted to the starting lineup. Alfredsson will be making his fifth appearance in the All-Star Game.
On January 11, Alfredsson's "CASH line" linemates, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza, were named to the All-Star Game roster. They are the first complete line named since 1981, when the "Triple Crown" line of the Los Angeles Kings was named. However, due to Heatley's shoulder injury suffered against the Detroit Red Wings earlier in January, he did not dress in the game.
On January 24, 2008, in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Daniel Alfredsson set a new team record for points in a single game, notching seven points on three goals and four assists. This topped the team record of six, done three times, the last time by Alfredsson himself against the Buffalo Sabres on November 2, 2005. A six-point game had also been done by Dan Quinn and Radek Bonk. The seven-point night put Alfredsson into the overall lead in the scoring race for the All-Star break. Moreover, Alfredsson was named the First Star of the Week on January 28. He was also named The Hockey News Player of the Week on that same day.
On January 28, Ray Emery arrived late for a practice in New York City on the first day back after the All-Star Game. Emery was subsequently fined $15,000 and the money was donated to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation. Despite his team's disappointment with his behaviour, it did not stop Emery starting against the Maple Leafs in a nationally televised game, following Coach Paddock's "lose and you're out" policy of rotating his goaltenders depending on the team winning or losing, and not the goaltender's performance.
Dany Heatley returned from his separated shoulder injury after a month on injured reserve on February 7, 2008, scoring two goals in a win against the Florida Panthers.
On February 8, 2008, The Sports Network (TSN) reported that Wade Redden refused to waive his no-trade clause for a possible deal with the San Jose Sharks. Redden's agent was quoted as saying that "Redden wants to stay in Ottawa and contribute to Ottawa winning the Stanley Cup."
On February 11, the Senators made a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes sending defenceman Joe Corvo and forward Patrick Eaves in exchange for forward Cory Stillman and defenceman Mike Commodore in a trade for "Stanley Cup experience", according to General Manager Bryan Murray. Also that day, the NHL announced that Jason Spezza was named First Star of the Week after recording 11 points in the previous week's three games.
On February 27, after a prolonged slump through January and February during which the Senators won only 7 of 21 games, Murray fired Head Coach Paddock and Assistant Coach Ron Low, taking over the coaching duties himself. Both Low and Paddock were offered other jobs within the organization. Murray said he told them to call him in a few weeks.
The Senators trailed the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on March 25, 2008, with under eight minutes to play in the third period but scored five unanswered goals to win 6-3. It was only the third time in NHL history that a team scored six-or-more goals in a game despite scoring no more than one goal through the first 52:00.
The team remained upbeat after the poor play and coaching change. Alfredsson appeared on the cover of the April 1 issue of The Hockey News, proclaiming "Don't Count Us Out." This was his seventh appearance on the cover of the magazine. The article interviewed Alfredsson, Fisher and Murray, and discussed the up-and-down play of the team, and its defensive play which has allowed more goals than previous seasons. Wayne Gretzky was quoted about the team: "This might mature them as a team going through this tough patch."
Entering the final week of play, the Senators needed three points in three games to guarantee a playoff position ahead of the Washington Capitals, who held an edge in a tie-breaker between the teams. In the first game, Montreal would defeat the Senators 3-0. According to The Globe and Mail, before the next game on April 3 in Toronto, Ottawa employed the use of sports psychologist Dr. Max Offenberger. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 8-2 and Antoine Vermette scored a hat-trick. Three of the Senators' goals were scored short-handed; it was the third time in franchise history that the Senators had scored three short-handed goals in a single game, with the two previous games being a 5-2 home win against the Florida Panthers on November 18, 2000, and a 7-2 road win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 2, 2006. However, they lost Alfredsson and Fisher to injuries, adding to Chris Kelly, who was already sidelined. The Capitals continued to win, and it came down to the Senators final game, on April 4 at home against the Boston Bruins, needing one point to clinch a spot. Despite a 2-1 Senators' loss that night, the Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Florida Panthers and the Senators clinched a playoff berth for the 11th-straight season.
On April 6, the final day of the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins played the Philadelphia Flyers to decide the final seedings and lost 2-0, drawing the Senators as first round opponents. According to Phil Sheridan of The Philadelphia Inquirer, it appeared deliberate:
"Two days after Double Clinch Friday came Letdown Sunday. Fans who filled the Wachovia Center expecting a fresh installment of There Will Be Blood got stuck watching Farce of the Penguins instead.
No Sidney Crosby, not much effort. The Pittsburgh Penguins paid the Flyers a huge compliment yesterday. They made it embarrassingly clear that they preferred to face the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs. After skating through the motions of a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia, the Pens will indeed face the Sens."
|1||z - Montreal Canadiens||82||47||25||10||262||222||104|
|5||Toronto Maple Leafs||82||36||35||11||231||260||83|
|1||z - Montreal Canadiens||NE||82||47||25||10||262||222||104|
|2||y - Pittsburgh Penguins||AT||82||47||27||8||247||216||102|
|3||y - Washington Capitals||SE||82||43||31||8||242||231||94|
|4||New Jersey Devils||AT||82||46||29||7||206||197||99|
|5||New York Rangers||AT||82||42||27||13||213||199||97|
|12||Toronto Maple Leafs||NE||82||36||35||11||231||260||83|
|13||New York Islanders||AT||82||35||38||9||194||243||79|
|15||Tampa Bay Lightning||SE||82||31||42||9||223||267||71|
Divisions: AT - Atlantic, NE - Northeast, SE - Southeast
bold - qualified for playoffs, y - division winner, z - placed first in conference (and division)
The Ottawa Senators clinched a playoff spot for the eleventh consecutive time (minus the lockout), finishing second in the Northeast Division, and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Senators faced the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarter-final and lost the series 4-0. The result led to speculation in the media that Ray Emery's contract would be bought out and free agents Mike Commodore, Martin Lapointe, Wade Redden, Luke Richardson and Cory Stillman would not return for the 2008-09 season. GM Bryan Murray was given a public endorsement by Owner Eugene Melnyk and was expected to return for next season. On April 18, Murray confirmed to the media in an end-of-season press conference that Emery would not return: "My plan is not to have him back."
Stillman and Commodore totals only include time with Senators.
|Nick Foligno||1st NHL game||October 4, 2007|
|Daniel Alfredsson||50th NHL GWG||October 4, 2007|
|Brian Elliott||1st NHL game
1st NHL start
1st NHL win
|October 10, 2007|
|Dany Heatley||400th NHL point||October 18, 2007|
|Nick Foligno||1st NHL goal
1st NHL point
|October 20, 2007|
|Shean Donovan||1st goal w/ Ottawa||October 20, 2007|
|Dany Heatley||300th NHL PIM||October 27, 2007|
|Randy Robitaille||1st goal w/ Ottawa||November 1, 2007|
|Daniel Alfredsson||300th NHL goal||November 1, 2007|
|Mike Fisher||200th NHL point||November 3, 2007|
|Mike Fisher||400th NHL game||November 10, 2007|
|Chris Neil||1000th NHL PIM||November 10, 2007|
|Chris Neil||400th NHL game||November 15, 2007|
|Daniel Alfredsson||800th NHL game||November 15, 2007|
|Alexander Nikulin||1st NHL game||November 22, 2007|
|Joe Corvo||300th NHL game||November 22, 2007|
|Shean Donovan||800th NHL game||December 4, 2007|
|Antoine Vermette||100th NHL point||December 7, 2007|
|Mike Fisher||100th NHL goal||December 12, 2007|
|Dean McAmmond||400th NHL point||December 12, 2007|
|Daniel Alfredsson||800th NHL point||December 13, 2007|
|Cody Bass||1st NHL game||December 15, 2007|
|Dany Heatley||200th NHL goal||December 15, 2007|
|Jason Spezza||200th NHL assist||December 15, 2007|
|Luke Richardson||1st goal w/ Ottawa||December 18, 2007|
|Chris Kelly||200th NHL game||December 20, 2007|
|Wade Redden||100th NHL goal||December 26, 2007|
|Cody Bass||1st NHL assist
1st NHL point
|December 27, 2007|
|Andrej Meszaros||200th NHL game||December 27, 2007|
|Jason Spezza||300th NHL point||December 27, 2007|
|Mike Fisher||1st NHL hat-trick||December 29, 2007|
|Cody Bass||1st NHL goal||January 4, 2008|
|Wade Redden||800th NHL game||January 11, 2008|
|Daniel Alfredsson||100th NHL PPG||January 13, 2008|
|Ilya Zubov||1st NHL game||January 15, 2008|
|200th NHL PIM||January 20, 2008|
|Wade Redden||400th NHL point||January 20, 2008|
|Randy Robitaille||500th NHL game||January 20, 2008|
|Jason Spezza||100th NHL goal||January 24, 2008|
|Wade Redden||300th NHL assist||January 24, 2008|
|Daniel Alfredsson||500th NHL assist||January 24, 2008|
|Jason Spezza||1st NHL hat-trick
1st NHL 6-point game
|February 9, 2008|
|Joe Corvo||100th NHL assist||February 9, 2008|
|Dany Heatley||400th NHL game||February 12, 2008|
|Cory Stillman||1st assist w/ Ottawa
1st point w/ Ottawa
|February 12, 2008|
|Luke Richardson||200th NHL point||February 13, 2008|
|Jason Spezza||300th NHL game||February 19, 2008|
|Cory Stillman||1st goal w/ Ottawa||February 21, 2008|
|Luke Richardson||1400th NHL game||February 25, 2008|
|Martin Lapointe||1st goal w/ Ottawa
1st point w/ Ottawa
|March 1, 2008|
|Martin Lapointe||1st assist w/ Ottawa||March 13, 2008|
|Shean Donovan||600th NHL PIM||March 13, 2008|
|Mike Commodore||1st assist w/ Ottawa
1st point w/ Ottawa
|March 22, 2008|
|Brian Lee||1st NHL game||March 25, 2008|
|Jesse Winchester||1st NHL game||March 29, 2008|
|Antoine Vermette||1st NHL hat-trick||April 3, 2008|
|Brian Lee||1st NHL assist
1st NHL point
|April 3, 2008|
|Martin Gerber||109th NHL victory||April 3, 2008|
|Martin Gerber||200th NHL game||April 4, 2008|
|1st NHL playoff game||April 9, 2008|
|Cody Bass||1st NHL playoff goal
1st NHL playoff point
|April 11, 2008|
|Shean Donovan||1st playoff goal w/ Ottawa||April 11, 2008|
|Nick Foligno||1st NHL playoff goal
1st NHL playoff point
|April 14, 2008|
|Daniel Alfredsson||100th NHL playoff game||April 14, 2008|
The Senators have been involved in the following transactions during the 2007-08 season.
|June 23, 2007
||To Tampa Bay Lightning
Fifth-round pick in 2007 Draft (Matt Marshall)
|To Ottawa Senators |
Fourth-round pick in 2008 Draft (Derek Grant)
|July 17, 2007
||To Boston Bruins
|To Ottawa Senators |
|February 11, 2008
||To Carolina Hurricanes
|To Ottawa Senators |
|February 26, 2008
||To Chicago Blackhawks
Sixth-round pick in 2008 Draft (Ben Smith)
|To Ottawa Senators |
|Player||Former team||Contract terms|
|Matt Carkner||Pittsburgh Penguins||One year, $475,000|
|Niko Dimitrakos||Philadelphia Flyers||One year, $575,000|
|Luke Richardson||Tampa Bay Lightning||One year, $500,000|
|Randy Robitaille||New York Islanders||One year, $625,000|
|Jesse Winchester||Colgate University||One year, terms not announced|
|Mike Comrie||New York Islanders|
|Andrew Ebbett||Anaheim Ducks|
|Jeff Heerema||Frankfurt Lions|
|Neil Komadoski||St. Louis Blues|
|Tom Preissing||Los Angeles Kings|
|Oleg Saprykin||CSKA Moscow|
|Round||#||Player||Position||Nationality||College/junior/club team (league)|
|1||29th||James O'Brien||Centre||United States||University of Minnesota (NCAA)|
|2||60th||Ruslan Bashkirov||Left Wing||Russia||Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)|
|3||90th||Louie Caporusso||LW/C||Canada||St. Michael's Buzzers (OPJRA)|
|4||120th||Ben Blood||Defence||United States||Shattuck-Saint Mary's (Midget Major AAA)|