TORONTO - "The Hockey Song" had a sad tinge to it Wednesday night as it played through the speakers at the Air Canada Centre as it does during every third period of Maple Leafs game.
"Stompin' Tom, you'll be missed. Thanks for all the memories and the greatest hockey song ever," PA announcer Andy Frost said during the song.
Word came during the Toronto-Ottawa matchup that the Canadian music legend had died at 77.
Both captains remembered Connors and his iconic hockey song. Even Sweden's Daniel Alfredsson.
"I'm familiar with the song," the Senators skipper said after the game. "If you asked me before I wouldn't have been able to put a name to the song but when they played the song and everybody started cheering I looked up and I saw '1936-2013' and noticed obviously that he'd passed away.
"The song is synonymous in NHL arenas now and it is a great song that will live on forever."
Said Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf: "I saw that on the score clock and that's definitely extremely sad. That's probably the greatest hockey song ever made."
The song is certainly a hockey staple with its refrain: "Oh, the good old hockey game, is the best game you can name. And the best game you can name, is the good old hockey game."
But Toronto coach Randy Carlyle, a native of Sudbury, Ont., thought back to another Connors' song ??? "Sudbury Saturday Night."
"There were a few ties to my upbringing and my adolescence, I guess, when I spent more time in the (drinking) establishments where he would frequent," Carlyle said after the Leafs' 5-4 win.
"I don't spend as much time there now as I used to," he added with a laugh.