Ottawa Senators

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 03:01

History of Ottawa Senators

Information about the NHL team Ottawa Senators.

The symbolic emblem of a general belies the strength of character the Ottawa Senators have developed through the numerous trails they have undergone throughout the years. The Ottawa Senators are represented by their logo of a Roman General, who is said to be a member of the Roman Senate, and thus speaks of the team's strength and prominence. If only the team survived the financial crisis brought by the Depression era in the 1930s, then they would have been considered as the longest playing team in the league. Here's a look back on the years of play of the Ottawa Senators.

Ottawa Senators 1884 – 1910: the amateur years

In 1884, the first successful attempt to have an organized ice hockey team resulted in the formation of the  Ottawa Hockey Club. Eventually, the OHC was renamed the Ottawa Generals, owing to their war-like symbol and crest. The Generals went on to challenge and win against many teams and by 1890, they were part of two organized ice hockey leagues, the Amateur Hockey Association (AHA) and the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA). After concentrating on the AHA, the Generals shifted their focus to greater spoils such as the Stanley Cup. However, their initial efforts were in vain as the Montreal AAAs snatched the trophy.

1902 saw the restructuring of the Generals when they revealed new colors to represent the team. Red, black, and white symbolized the new team renamed the Ottawa Senators. However, despite the change in name, the media and ice hockey fans would refer to the team as the Silver Seven, thanks to the notoriety of the team's owner to pay his players with silver nuggets. Silver nuggets or not, the Silver Seven battled against opponents in the ice rink, leaving no enemy unscathed and taking over the spoils. The Silver Seven grabbed the Stanley Cup in 1903 when they put up a barrage of skillful tactics against the Montreal Victorias. The Silver Seven continued to beat every opponent that crossed their path such as the Toronto Marlboros, Montreal Wanderers, and the Dawson City Nuggets to name a few of these unfortunate teams.

However, in 1906, the Silver Seven showed signs of weakening, having slid in play against the Rat Portage Thistles. 1906 also was an eye-opener for the Silver Seven as the Montreal Wanderers matched their gameplay and snatched the victory. By 1908, however, the Silver Seven were eventually recognized under their true name of Ottawa Senators. 1908 still was a fruitful year for the Senators as they grabbed the Stanley Cup from the hands of amateur teams, becoming the first professional team to win the Stanley Cup and ending the winning streak of the amateur teams.

Ottawa Senators 1910-1934: original NHA and NHL members

In 1910, the Senators (Sens) joined the newly-formed National Hockey Association, formed by then bitter rival Montreal Wanderers. The Stanley Cup then was designated to be the prize for the team who would win the play-offs of the NHA and the Senators had to let go of the much-coveted trophy after losing to the Wanderers. However, season 1911-12 saw the Senators drinking once again from the Stanley Cup after they slaughtered the Galt Professionals and the Port Arthur Seniors. The Senators credited the win to star player Marty Walsh who won 10 goals in the game.

The Senators however, lay low in season 1912-15, finishing in second, third, and fourth places and never coming close to the Stanley Cup. However, they regained first place in the NHA and eventually faced off with the Pacific Coast Hockey Association Champion Vancouver Millionaires in 1915. Unfortunately, a humiliating loss befell the Senators and the Stanley Cup went to the West Coast Champions for the first time. Players were also dropping out from the team, with Percy Lesuer leaving the team in season 1915-16 followed by Punch Broadbent who left for military service for World War I. The loss in players resulted in the team's asking for a hiatus from playing but management refused the request.

Season 1916-17 saw steady playing from the Senators until the controversy surrounding Toronto Blueshirts owner Ted Livingstone threatened to disrupt the NHA playoffs. With the Montreal Wanderers, the Montreal Candiens, and the Quebec Bulldogs, the Ottawa Senators agreed to dissolve the NHA and form the National Hockey League or NHL. Punch Broadbent returned from military service in 1918 and by season 1919-20, the Senators were blazing on the ice with an impressive 6-1 win, grabbing the Stanley Cup also on the following year.

The 1920s saw the Senators snatching two more Stanley wins and consistenly staying on the top positions. However, players such as Clint Benedict and Punch Broadbent were traded to the Montreal Maroons. Cy Denneny eventually retired from play in 1927-28. However, it wasn't just the lack of manpower that led to the demise of the Sens. The financial breakdown of the economy during the  1930s resulted to poor box office performances that the Sens eventually had to sell players. Eventually the Sens along with other teams shut down operations for a year and even leased out players while recuperating their financial losses. However, despite returning to the rink in season 1932-33 and Cy Denneny as coach, the Sens failed to deliver, eventually losing out to the New York Americans in their last game in season 1933-34. They were sold to St. Louis the next year and Ottawa would never be graced by a professional hockey team for almost 40 years.

Ottawa Senators 1992 - present : revamped

In 1990, Bruce Firestone, a real estate developer, campaigned for returning the Sens to their hometown. Eventually, in December 12, 1990, the NHL granted the franchise and set a date in 1992 for the first game. The Sens made a sensational comeback in Oct 8, 1992 pitting against old arch enemy Montreal Canadiens and eventually winning that first game. However, for the rest of the season, the Sens performed poorly and humiliatingly occupied the lowest rungs of the NGL expansion set for the next two years. The Sens however, saw a glimmer of hope with then rookie Alex Yashin. By season 1994-95, Yashin would be leading the Sens on their road to victory, slowly pulling the team up from the lower rungs. Season 1995-96 also saw the rise of another star rookie Daniel Alfredsson, who with Yashin will take the Sens to greater heights in the following seasons. Season 1995-96 was the start of the Sens' ascent as they knocked Stanley Cup holders New Jersey Devils out of the play offs. A slew of disappointments however still plagued the Sens throughout the 1990s and Alex Yashin was eventually traded to the New York Islanders for Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and Jason Spezza. Despite trading off their former star player, the Sens remained at the top of their game but still a few victories away from claiming the Stanley Cup.

Strong players such as Marian Hossa, Daniel Alfredsson, Todd White, Martin Havlat, and Radenk Bonk work hard to keep the Sens heads afloat, winning the President's Cup in season 2002-03. The Sens would also experience minor triumphs and victories but are still short of claiming the famed Stanley Cup. After the season 2004-05 lock out, the Sens would emerge, newly fortified with goalie and future Hall of Famer Dominick Hasek and Dany Heatley. The Sens would eventually come the closest to the famed trophy in season 2006-07. However, the Stanley Cup was snatched from their clutches by the Anaheim Ducks.