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Phillips would like to be Senators captain: report @NHLdotcom

The Ottawa Senators have been without a captain since July, but defenseman Chris Phillips would love to assume the role.

Phillips, who has been with the Senators since being selected by the franchise with the No. 1 pick of the 1996 NHL Draft, told reporters Tuesday he would like to occupy the vacancy left by Jason Spezza after the latter was traded to the Dallas Stars during the offseason.

"I'd love to have it," the 36-year-old said, according to the Ottawa Sun. "I said that last year and nothing's changed."

Spezza was named captain by coach Paul MacLean after Daniel Alfredsson left the Senators in the summer of 2013 to sign with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent. Phillips wanted the job then too.

"I wanted that responsibility, I wanted that role," he said. "I think it's quite an honor to be a captain in the NHL. So to say I wasn't disappointed, it would be a lie.

"At the same time, [Spezza] wasn't the wrong pick, he was the other pick. I said then, I'll say it again, he was deserving of it as well."

Phillips is entering his 17th season and has played 1,143 games, all with the Senators. Ottawa forward Chris Neil said he'd like to see Phillips succeed Spezza as team captain.

"He's worn the 'A' for a number of years, he's a guy that a lot of guys come in and look up to," Neil said. "I consider myself a leader in that room, I try to show up every night. I've made it very clear, I don't even need a letter on my jersey to be a leader in there."

The Senators open the 2014-15 season Oct. 9 against the Nashville Predators. MacLean likely will make a decision on the captaincy during training camp, but if he doesn't, Phillips doesn't think it will be a distraction to the team.

"I think throughout the season there's always things that come up that are stories, that could maybe be used as excuses," he said. "And I don't agree with that. It's part of our job, with whatever is going on, to not let it distract us, to be focused on our job. When the game is over, when the practice is over, some things are bigger issues than others and we have to talk about it and put it to bed.

"I was told a long time ago, don't worry about the things that aren't in your control. It's pretty good advice."

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