by Todd Anderson
The Eastern Conference-champion Ottawa Senators came together for the final time last Saturday to say goodbye, meet with coaches and pack up for the summer.
The players were still feeling the sting of falling to the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup final, but they agreed there are plenty of positive memories to look back on from this season.
"It was a lot of fun to be a part of this team, and I definitely enjoyed this year," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson says. "The way the community rallied behind us and helped us is something I will remember forever."
Senators centre Mike Fisher says although the club didn't achieve its goal of winning the Stanley Cup, members of the team should hold their heads high.
"Obviously, right away it's tough, but you sit back and realize we had a pretty good year. It would have been nice to bring home the Cup, but as an organization we came a long way. We're all proud of what we've done."
For left-winger Dany Heatley, he can look back on a second consecutive 50-goal season and establishing a new club record with 105 points. He's already looking forward to next year.
"That's the way hockey is. You have one winner and 29 losers," Heatley says of the disappointing loss to Anaheim. "We have to go into the summer and get ready again for next year."
Forward Mike Comrie joined the Sens last January through a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Alexei Kaigorodov. Comrie quickly fit in with his new team and was amazed with the support from Hockey Country.
"It's a great group of guys here, and I'm sure you'll see this group back," Comrie says. "It was amazing coming here and being in this market, having the success we had, seeing the people and how excited they were. It was a lot of fun. The players really enjoyed it. It's definitely a great place to play."
Alternate captain Wade Redden says now that he's had a taste of the Stanley Cup final, he wants to get right back there next season.
"We're proud of what we were able to accomplish but knowing how close you get and then coming up short, it makes you want to get back there again for sure."
The Sens' other alternate captain, Chris Phillips, would like to see the same cast of players back in the fold to try and make that happen.
"We found a way to win and we had a lot of fun doing it. Hopefully, the same team can get back there. It's not easy. It's a long grind. Hopefully, we get as many guys back here as possible."