|Senators forward Chris Neil stickhandles a puck over the 2007 Stanley Cup logo during practice at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Sunday. A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
It was 80 years ago, on April 13, 1927, when the Ottawa Senators won their last Stanley Cup with a 3-1 victory over Boston. After a 58-year absence from the NHL - the Ottawa franchise moved to St. Louis after the 1934 season - the club returned to the league in 1992. Tonight, the modern-day Sens look to make history in Game 1 of the 2007 Stanley Cup final against the Anaheim Ducks. It's the team's first trip to the Cup final since the franchise was resurrected 15 years ago.
"We've had some real good seasons. We've had some disappointments in the playoffs," says Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who has skated in all 94 playoff games in team history. "We haven't played to our potential, but every year it's a new year. It's an opportunity. You always think that year is your year. That was no different this year. Obviously, we've really pulled together as a team here and played real consistent, and that's the reason we're here."
Tonight will be a proud moment for all of the Senators, including centre Jason Spezza.
"Definitely, we're hockey historians," Spezza says. "Playing for a Canadian team, the passion for the game year-round, seeing people disappointed when we do lose. I think having the opportunity to bring a Cup back to Canada and become Canada's team is another driving reason for us to try and win.
"I think first and foremost we want to try to win for the guys in the dressing room, for each other, but there's definitely a little more behind it playing for a Canadian team."
The Senators continue to be focused with the task at hand, but they've learned to find a healthy mix between working hard and having fun.
"I think that's the way we've been going all along, even all season," Senators alternate captain Chris Phillips says. "Even when we're working hard and having hard practices, we're having fun out there. And I think that's a big reason why we're in this position right now."