As the most veteran member of the Sens dressing room, Chris Phillips was drafted first overall by the Senators just one year after 2013 first round pick Curtis Lazar was born. Phillips looked back on his first NHL game when asked about the opportunity ahead of Lazar.
"It was an exciting time. My first game was in Montreal and I had a lot of family there," said Phillips. "Lots of stuff leads up to getting to the NHL — being drafted, coming to camp but you're not there until you play that first game. Being in that lineup, it's a very memorable experience."
Phillips has played 1,143 games since making his Senators debut on October 1, 1997.
Senators goaltender Craig Anderson completed a solid pre-season campaign, recording a 2-1 record between the pipes and posting a 1.91 goals-against average alongside a .922 save percentage. Coming off a year that was tough on Senators goaltending and defenders, Anderson spoke about the team's effort throughout training camp and what has been a productive pre-season.
"I think this year was a good camp. We had a better schedule than we did last year. We were able to get on the road right off the bat with a bunch of guys and come together in St. John's and I think at the end we were able to get a couple of games in with our team," said Anderson. "Last year we were having a split squad game three days before camp ended. That threw a wrench in our gameplan last year."
"This year things have gone the way we've wanted them to, we've had a lot of systems practices, gone over things that were our Achilles heel last year and we're moving forward with it. What it comes down to is we've got to be better than the guy across from us when we line up Thursday night."
With that systems work in place, Anderson thinks there is progress being made in the team's focus areas heading into the season — primarily on the defensive side of the game.
"There's going to be mistakes from time to time throughout the game and my job is there to help cover it up. We obviously need some help from the other guys around," said Anderson. "I believe headed in the right direction, we're moving on the right track. Our guys are really working hard at being a better defensive unit and playing together."
The Sens open their season on Thursday night in Nashville against the Predators. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (ET).
Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts on the team's opening night roster and more after practice on Monday night. Here's what he had to say...
Sens GM Bryan Murray spoke to the media on Monday after the team announced its opening night roster. Here's what he had to say...
Curtis Lazar — the Sens' first round pick in 2013 — was named to the opening day roster on Monday. Here's what he had to say about being named to the big club...
Senators head coach Paul MacLean offered a series of updates ahead of the team's second game of a back-to-back with Montreal to conclude the pre-season. Here's what he had to say...
Senators forward Zack Smith returns to the lineup for the team's final pre-season game against the Canadiens tonight. Here's what he had to say about his pre-season and getting back at it against a Sens rival...
A day after signing a seven-year contract extension with the Senators, Bobby Ryan sent fans home happy with an overtime winner in the club's final home pre-season fixture. Ryan beat Montreal's Peter Budaj in the low slot with the Sens on the power play to seal a 4-3 victory. In two pre-season games for the Senators he has recorded three goals.
"The whole attitude in the room changes when you're playing that team and it doesn't feel like a pre-season game," said Ryan. "It certainly didn't look like one in the third when it got chippy and tensions rose. It was good, both teams rallied around it and we did a really good job of handling the emotions."
Is he worried about using up too many goals in the pre-season?
"You want to feel good, you want to feel like you're making a difference, you just hope you don't have three good games and hit a wall or something. That's always in the back of your mind. I'll take them whenever they are, it feels good to make a difference whether it's pre-season or not."
Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki had a solid showing on the back-end Friday night as a key part of a Sens penalty kill that killed off six of seven minors in addition to being a physical force at even strength. He captured some headlines as well for a spirited fight with Canadiens star PK Subban during a large skirmish between the two sides. The physical side of the game is nothing new for "BoroCop" who has paved his path to a pro career with a tough brand of hockey.
"I'll give him credit, he stood in there. He's known as a skill player but he's pretty tough too," said Borowiecki. "That's just the nature of the game, especially a rivalry like that. In that situation you just want to protect yourself and protect your teammates."
Borowiecki said he felt good about his performance outside of the headline grabbing fight as well.
"I felt pretty strong, actually. I said earlier today after the pre-game skate that I've got a good sense of familiarity with Grybes out there. We played a lot together in the minors and I think we work pretty well together."
Senators head coach Paul MacLean offered up his thoughts after the team pulled out a 4-3 overtime victory in Ottawa over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night. Here's what he had to say...