Welcome back to “Let’s Get To Know” where we take a look at each of the teams that the Panthers will be joining in the new Atlantic Division. On the ledger for today, the Ottawa Senators. I won’t be previewing the Sens 2013-14 season but if your curious to know what the Senators, Anne Murray and Family Guy all have in common then read on my curious friend!
- Founded in 1990, began play in 1992
- 0 Stanley Cups, 1 Cup appearance (06-07; lost to Anaheim in five games)
- General Manager: Bryan Murray
- Head Coach: Paul MacLean (2011-present; 66-48-16)
- Last Playoff Appearance: 2013, Lost to Penguins in Conference Semi-final 4-1
- Forbes Ranking: 16th most valuable NHL team, currant value: $220 million
- Franchise Scoring Leader: Daniel Alfredsson (426 goals, 682 assists, 1,108 points in 1,178 games played)
- Current Home: Canadian Tire Centre (né Scotiabank Place) Capacity: 20,500
- The Ottawa Senators are actually the second edition of the team to play in the NHL. The original Ottawa Senators (officially known as the Ottawa Hockey Club) existed in some capacity from 1883-1954. The original Senators joined the NHL for its inaugural season in 1917 and played in the league until 1934 when finances forced the team to move to St. Louis. (The move was ill-fated as the renamed St. Louis Eagles only lasted one season.)
- The Original Senators (who continued play as a semi-pro and amateur team until 1954) are widely regarded as one of the most successful franchises ever as they accumulated 11 Stanley Cup victories (four in the NHL) during their history. In 1950 the Canadian sports editors named the Senators, the greatest team of the first half of the 20th century.
- Ottawa real estate developer Bruce Firestone is largely responsible for the return of the Ottawa Senators franchise. In 1990, when the league announced plans to expand, Firestone and his company Terrace Investments headed a group to make a bid for the return of the Senators to the NHL.
- Randy Sexton and Cyril Leeder were also heavily involved in the “Bring Back the Senators” campaign. Leeder is currently the president of the Ottawa Senators while Florida fans may recognize Sexton as the ex-Panthers GM.
- Sexton was the Senators GM from 1993-95 and he became the Panthers general manager in October, 2009 after Jacques Martin resigned from the position. Sexton was only the Panthers GM for one season and he was let go when the team hired Dale Tallon in May of 2010. The Randy Sexton Panthers/Senators connection is one of a few connections between the two franchises as we will see later..
- The Senators were historically awful throughout their 1992-93 inaugural season. They finished the year with 10 wins, 70 losses, four ties and grand total of 24 points. They were only three points ahead of the record for futility set by the Washington Capitals in their 1974-75 inaugural season. Those Capitals went 8-67-5 and finished with only 21 points, although it should be noted that they only played 80 games, two less than the 92-93 Senators.
- I found it hilarious that despite their awful season, the team actually exceeded expectations, here is a direct quote from the Sen’s wikipedia page:
The Senators had aimed low and considered the 1992–93 season a small success, as Firestone had set a goal for the season of not setting a new NHL record for fewest points in a season. The long term plan was to finish low in the standings for its first few years in order to secure high draft picks and eventually contend for the Stanley Cup.
- Jaques Martin took over the Senator’s head coaching duties in 1996 and he remained the coach through 2004. Martin led the Sens to the playoffs in each of his eight seasons as head coach but he was let go after the 2003-04 season due to poor consistently poor performances in each of those playoffs.
- Martin is Panthers/Sens connection no. 2 as he was hired to be the Panthers head coach prior to the 2004-05 season. Martin coached Florida for three seasons and also took over as general manger in 2006. During the Martin era, the Panthers never made the playoffs and he left the team to coach the Montreal Canadiens prior to the 09-10 season.
- In order to pay for the cost of bringing the Senators back to Ottawa (which included financing the construction of a new stadium and a new highway to get to the stadium) Firestone and his company, Terrace Investments, had to take out countless loans. The debt payments eventually became too much for the franchise and on January 9, 2003 the Senators filed for bankruptcy.
- The franchise was saved when the franchised was purchased on August 26, 2003 by the extremely wealthy Eugene Melnyk for $92 million. Melnyk is the founder and former CEO of Biovail Corporation, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, and he is estimated to have a net worth of $940 million. Melnyk is the sole owner of the franchise as well as the governor and chairman.
Fun Facts and Miscellaneous
- Ottawa Senators fans briefly held a grudge against country singer Carrie Underwood. When fan favorite (and Underwood’s beau) Mike Fisher, was traded to Nashville during the 2010-11 season, many fans blamed Underwood for the deal. The newlyweds had a house in Nashville and it was easy for fans to come to the conclusion that she somehow had a hand in Fisher getting sent to the Predators. Underwood was labeled by some as ‘hockey’s Yoko Ono‘ and one Ottawa radio station even went as far as banning Underwood from their rotation. Now how’s that for passion.
- Panthers/Sens connection no. 3: Denis Potvin is currently the color analyst for the Ottawa Senators. Florida fans will probably remember Potvin as the Panthers color commentator from 1993-2009.
- The Florida Panthers were the visiting team when the Paul MacLean doppleganger incident took place last season.
- The Senators mascot is Spartacat. His height and weight is listed: as big as his heart, which makes zero logical sense. What is the deal with the cat mascots anyway? The Panthers are the only team who have a legitimate reason for a cat mascot. Why wouldn’t the Senators go with something like Michigan State’s Sparty? Does anybody really care?
Famous Fans and Ottawa Facts
- Here is a clip of Canadian singer Anne Murray at an Ottawa Senators game. At first I had no idea who Anne Murray was, then I heard the clip they played while showing her on the jumbo-tron and wait a second…that song sounds familiar…was she a guest star in a Family Guy episode??? She was a guest star in a Family Guy episode!!! It says something about my generation that I only recognize this obviously very successful musician because she was in an episode of a crude TV cartoon, but hey, what can I say? Also I would be lying if I said I did not proceed to look her up on Spotify and if I said I have not been listening to ‘Snowbird’ on repeat for the last three hours…spread your tiny wings and fly away, and take the snow back with you where it came from on that day!!!!….good stuff. (I couldn’t embed the Family Guy clip but check it out here).
- I don’t know how much hockey Rihanna follows but she did cause a stir this spring when she wore a vintage Sens jersey as a very very short skirt.
- Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is the country’s fourth largest city and the 29th largest in North America.
- Ottawa was listed as the city with the second highest quality of living in the Americas. (Vancouver topped the list.) It was also ranked second cleanest city in Canada and third cleanest city in the world.
- The name Ottawa comes from the Algonquin words ‘adawe/atawa’ which mean ‘to trade’ or ‘to buy and sell’.