(Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)
It would be fruitless to argue that the Ottawa Senators have as rich a history as their division rivals. If you take out your official copy of The NHL Board of Governors Atlas and take a look at the other seven teams scattered along the Atlantic coast, you’ll quickly spot four Original Six opponents in the proximity of Ottawa.
Despite the inability to draw in big name free agents, Ottawa’s all-time international team is as impressive as any. Thanks to prolific drafting and the development of young players within the organization, the Senators have managed to put together a solid international cast of characters.
More impressive in the team’s short history is the abundance of players who have ended their tenure in Ottawa on less than amicable terms with the team. In fact, this list of players could go pound for pound with Ottawa’s all-time team.
Grab a tissue as we walk down memory lane to revisit Ottawa’s International All-Scorn Team.
Canada: Dany Heatley (Honourable mention: Alexandre Daigle, Wade Redden)
Dany proved that even “good Canadian kids” can leave for greener pastures and that Hell hath no fury like a beauty asked to do something other than camp out in the high slot.
• After being acquired for Marian Hossa in 2005, Heatley put up two straight 50 goal, 100 point seasons; only the second player in NHL history to do so in his first two campaigns with a new club. Some guy named Wayne beat him to it.
• Trading him landed Milan Michalek, who has provided the Sens with a consistent presence in the trainer's room.
• Holds Ottawa’s single-season franchise records for goals (50) and points (105)
• Also holds the franchise record in tone deafness.
• Infamously demanded a trade from Ottawa in the summer of 2009, citing his reduced role with the team.
• Handcuffed Ottawa with his no-trade clause, including blocking a trade to Edmonton
• Resulted in Ottawa flea markets, thrift stores, and homeless shelters being clogged with remaindered Jonathan Cheechoo Sens jerseys, most of which are now being used as car shammies.
Finland Jarmo Kekalainen
In case you thought for a moment that no Finn has ever wronged another human being, we stretched as far as we could to find one that has done anything mildly negative to the Senators.
• Played 28 games with the Senators, tallying a goal and five assists.
• Became director of player personnel from 1999 to 2002
• Helped draft players like Martin Havlat, Chris Kelly, Anton Volchenkov, Antoine Vermette, Jason Spezza, Ray Emery, and Brooks Laich.
• Didn't stop the Senators from drafting Mathieu Chouinard for a second time.
• Blasphemously wore number 11 for the Senators.
• Deserted the Senators to become assistant GM in St. Louis.
• The first draft after Kekalainen left, the Senators' first two picks were Jakub Klepis and Alexei Kaigarodov, neither of which have ever been seen again.
USA: Joe Corvo
Joe’s self-prescribed bad boy image didn’t sit well with the local Ottawa media in his first stint with the team, but it should be fine now that hockey media coverage has died down.
• Averaged .50 points per game with Ottawa in one and a half seasons; an impressive pace for a defenceman.
• Averaged .50 new tattoos per game over that same stretch; an impressive pace for an entire biker gang.
• Founding member of Crazy Town:
• Helped Ottawa reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007.
• Helped Ottawa lose the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007.
• “Turnover” now refers to both his play on the ice and his recent employment history.
• Requested a trade out of Ottawa, criticizing the city for having a "small-town attitude" where he was subject to "ridiculous scrutiny."
• He's back, apparently because Sons of Anarchy doesn't need any more extras.
Sweden: Daniel Alfredsson
[Psalm 11:11] My Alfie, my Alfie, why hast thou forsaken me?
• All-time leader in every major offensive and games played statistical category for the Senators.
• Main provider of happiness to the Ottawa region since 1995.
• Calder trophy winner, Olympic gold medal winner, and likely Hall of Fame inductee.
• Pretended to throw a stick into the crowd in Toronto, mocking fellow Swede Mats Sundin. Legend has it it's still planted firmly up the collective ass of Leafs Nation.
• Named one of his sons "Fenix."
• Had to rename his son "Arizona" in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.• Famous for his playoff predictions, in which he has been correct only once.
• Never managed to win the cup in Ottawa, or even beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs for that matter, despite heroic and clean performances like this one:
• Infamously shot a puck in frustration at Scott Niedermayer in the 2007 Stanley Cup finals, although he later apologized, saying “I was aiming for Pronger on the bench.”
• In a move that shocked the entire NHL, on July 5th, 2013, Daniel Alfredsson announced he was signing with the Detroit Red Wings.
• Alfie’s sudden change of heart was attributed to one bad negotiation.
Russia: Alexei Yashin
Like most Bond villains, Ottawa’s first villain hailed from the Motherland, sporting his country’s finest turtlenecks.
• Ottawa's first-ever draft pick and franchise player.
• Was part of one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history when he was dealt to the New York Islanders in 2001 for 2nd overall pick Jason Spezza, future Norris winner Zdeno Chara, and Bill Muckalt, legendary in Ottawa for his 70 game, 0 goal season. Muckalt inspired the creation of the Bill Muckalt Trophy, awarded to every Ottawa Senators player who plays at least 25 games in a season without scoring a goal.
• Yashin’s stripped captaincy was given to Daniel Alfredsson, who would certainly never desert the team on short notice.
• Donated $1,000,000 to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
• His donation required the NAC to pay Yashin's parents $425,000 in "consulting fees", forcing the NAC to reject the donation
• Demanded a new contract and raise before his current deal had expired.
• Demanded a new contract and raise before his current deal had expired (again).
• Demanded a new contract and raise before his current deal had expired (yet again).
• Was suspended for the entire 99-00 season over his final contract dispute with the club before finally demanding a trade a year later. He was considered untradeable, which is why he was highly sought-after by Mike Milbury.
• His wardrobe choices:
The Classic Yashin The Russian Bill Cosby
How do you spell "Top Gun" in the Cyrillic alphabet?
His worst fashion faux pas.
Slovakia: Zdeno Chara
While nobody in Ottawa bears any ill will towards Zdeno Chara, letting him go was the biggest mistake in franchise history. The joke is that he’s big.
• One of the best defencemen in Ottawa Senators history, earning the team’s first-ever Norris trophy nomination.
• Sens fans were lucky enough to learn who the shortest player on the opposing team every night when the TV crew inevitably gave a size comparison.
• Representing Ottawa in the 2003 All-Star game, Chara placed 2nd behind Al MacInnis for the all-time hardest shot record, marking the first time Ottawa came close to any positive league records.
• “6 foot 9” is now repeated over and over in the nightmares of every Ottawa native.
• Adoring Sens fans gave him the nickname “the Big Zed,” which failed to translate in US markets.
• Strapped for cash, Ottawa needed to choose between two-time NHL all-star defenceman Zdeno Chara and two-time NHL all-star defenceman Wade Redden.
Chara went on to win a Norris trophy and the Stanley Cup as the captain of the Boston Bruins, while Wade Redden went on to buy every player on the Connecticut Whale an iPod.
Czech Republic::Dominik Hasek
“The Dominator provided the Ottawa Senators a lesson in why it may not be beneficial to have your players attend the Olympic Games,” said Jason Spezza, wistfully.
• Arguably the best goaltender of all-time.
• Marks the only time an Ottawa GM (John Muckler) lured a noteworthy free agent to Ottawa. And yes, we see you Alex Kovalev. Keep moving.
• Was having an excellent season for the Senators (28-10-4, 2.09 GAA, .925 SV%) leading into the 2006 Olympic break before succumbing to an adductor muscle injury playing for his native Czech Republic.
• Taught the city of Ottawa what an adductor muscle is.
• Possibly made up the adductor muscle.
• Accused of quitting on the team by making little to no effort to rehab.
• May have also said Ottawa was a "small-minded town", but nobody could understand what he said.
• Fled to Detroit as a free agent and went on to win the Stanley Cup, setting the example for future Ottawa Senator veterans.
REST OF THE WORLD CATEGORY
Martin Gerber, Switzerland
If you thought the Swiss remained forever neutral, you were wrong.
• Served as a good luck charm, as he made Stanley Cup appearances in 3 out of 4 seasons as a backup goalie in 2003 (Anaheim), 2006 (Carolina), and 2007 (Ottawa).
• Marked one of the first questionable moves of the Brian Burke era when the Leafs claimed Gerber off waivers in 2009. Gerber played well enough to move them out of a lottery pick, a feat the entire Toronto Maple Leafs team could not accomplish
• Had an awesome plain black mask which earned him the nickname “Darth Gerber”, which he followed up with sporting a legendary Darth Vader mask.
• Only had the plain black mask because he refused to commit even short-term to the Ottawa Senators.
• Wore the Darth Vader mask only a handful of times before deciding it was bad luck.
• Was a big baby (get it?) and requested a trade out of Ottawa after losing the starter's job to Ray Emery.
• To make matters worse, post-trade request, Emery underwent wrist surgery, forcing Gerber into the full-time starter’s role.
• To make matters worse, Gerber eventually lost the starter’s role to Alex Auld, a career backup.
• To make matters worse, this was a relatively stable time in Ottawa Senators goaltending history.
And so you have it. The impressive all-star international roster of players who have burned the Ottawa Senators at some point or another.
In case you were interested in Silver Seven’s actual best list of players, as voted by the blog staff, here they are:
Canada: Jason Spezza (Honourable mention: Wade Redden)
• Second all-time in Ottawa Senators scoring. Career point per game player.
USA: Craig Anderson (Honourable mention: Shawn McEachern)
• Although Shawn McEachern is 9th all-time in team scoring, Andy edged him out by finally bringing stability in the crease to Ottawa.
Russia: Alexei Yashin
• Spiteful choice.
Sweden: Daniel Alfredsson Erik Karlsson
• Alfredsson is the all-time greatest Senator, but Erik Karlsson had the all-time greatest season as a Senator and appears to be on track to be the best player in franchise history.
This vote may have been different a month ago.
Finland: Sami Salo (Dishonourable mention: Jarkko Ruutu)
• Sami’s clapper was as hard as it was for him to stay off the IR.
Czech Republic: Martin Havlat (Honourable mention: Radek Bonk)
• Havlat was a dynamic offensive player for Ottawa, and another victim of the team’s tight budget. He sits 11th all-time in team scoring, despite having only played 298 games with the club.
"I disagree with our choice" - Bonk’s Mullet
Slovakia: Marian Hossa (Honourable mention: Zdeno Chara)
• This vote was close. Although we agreed Zdeno Chara is the better player, Marian Hossa had a longer and generally more impactful stint with the club, sitting 6th all-time in team scoring.
Rest of the World (Poland): Peter Sidorkiewicz (Honourable mention: Christoph Schubert)
• That’s NHL All-Star Peter Sidorkiewicz to you. Sidorkiewicz needed only 60 games with the Ottawa Senators to secure his spot in the record books. His impressive 3 wins by the 1992-1993 All-Star break earned him a spot in the All-Star game as a representative Ottawa’s expansion squad.
Thanks for reading.