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Ottawa Senators History:
On August 23, 2005, shortly after the end of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, a "marvelous talent" named Marian Hossa, whose 45 goals for the Senators in 2002-03 were a team record until the 2005-06 arrival of Dany Heatley. Hossa had ranked fifth in the league in 2003-04 with 36, but was traded with defenseman Greg de Vries to the Atlanta Thrashers for former first round draft pick Dany Heatley.
Heatley, who had requested a trade out of Atlanta Thrashers to shake his personal demons associated with the team after being involved in a car crash that killed teammate Dan Snyder, who was driving with Heatley at the time. Heatley has since regained the All-Star form he displayed in his rookie year on a line with Alfredsson and young centre Jason Spezza, who led the AHL in scoring during the lockout.
On October 5th, 2005, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley became the first players to score the winning goals for a shoot out in NHL History; they both scored against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ed Belfour. Their sticks were subsequently sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Dany Heatley also set a team record with the longest consecutive point-scoring streak at 22 games. On February 2, 2006, the team set its own record scoring three short-handed goals in one game in a 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher both scored short handed within the same penalty in the second period and team captain Daniel Alfredsson scored the third short-handed goal in the third period.
Dany Heatley also became the first Ottawa Senator in franchise history to reach 100 points on April 13, 2006, recording two assists during a 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers and five days later became the first to reach the 50-goal mark and the fifth player to do so in the league in the 2005-06 season. He finished with exactly 50 goals.
To add to the accolades throughout the team, Ottawa Senator goalie, Dominik Hasek, recorded his 300th career win in a 5-1 win, stopping 34 of 35 shots.
More highlights came when Daniel Alfredsson became the second player in franchise history to reach 100 points, scoring an assist against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Heatley and Alfredsson now each hold the team record for most points in a season with 103. Jason Spezza also set a club record with 71 assists despite missing 14 games due to an injury.
Meanwhile, Wade Redden became the first Ottawa Senator to finish first in the plus/minus category with a +35 despite missing 17 games due to a sprained ankle and personal reasons. He finished the season tied with Michal Rozsival of the New York Rangers. Andrej Meszaros also narrowly missed on being the first rookie to win the plus/minus title with a +34 rating.
On April 29, 2006, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, four games to one. Ray Emery became the first rookie goalie since Philadelphia Flyers’ Brian Boucher in 2000 to win a playoff series.
Unfortunately, the Ottawa Senators were defeated by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round on May 13, 2006, losing the series four games to one. This loss was particularly devastating since the Senators were widely tipped to win the Stanley Cup and were the highest seeded team left in the playoffs after the elimination of the Detroit Red Wings by the Edmonton Oilers. Despite the high expectations, however, the Ottawa Senators dropped the first three games of the series including two at home; ultimately losing on home ice, in overtime, on a short-handed goal scored by Buffalo's Jason Pominville in Game 5 of the series.
Respected hockey broadcaster Bob McKenzie described the Senators 2005-2006 postseason as "an epic failure". This failure was not for lack of effort, as in both Games 1 and 3, shots rang off the post that would have won the game for Ottawa. Once again, the excellence shown during the regular season did not translate into postseason success.
After their latest playoff failure, Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Ottawa Senators, comforted fans by saying that their team would not only win the Stanley Cup in the future, but, once they had it, they would, he boasted, "hoard" it year after year.
Finally, on July 1st, 2006, the Ottawa Senators lost four players to free agency; defensemen Zdeno Chara, Brian Pothier , goalie Dominik Hasek and forward Vaclav Varada. They replaced Hasek with goaltender Martin Gerber, and signed defenseman Joe Corvo. A short time later, they traded star forward Martin Havlat and centre Bryan Smolinski to the Chicago Blackhawks for Tom Preissing, Josh Hennessy, Michal Barinka and a second-round draft pick in 2008. They are also expected to sign Russian centre Alexei Kaigorodov to a rookie contract.
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