Player Spotlight: Chris Phillips
(Editor's note: As the 2012-13 season draws closer, ottawasenators.com will take a daily snapshot look at some of the returning players from last year, with both a look back and a look ahead).
2011-12 stats: 80 GP, 5 G, 15 A, 19 PTS, 16 PIM, +16 rating
Last season: Like a lot of members of the Senators blue line, Phillips enjoyed a much-improved season over 2010-11 and the big boost in his plus-minus number (from -35 to +16) is reflective of that. Phillips is also the Senators' resident ironman and, for the sixth straight season, he suited up for at least 80 of Ottawa's 82 regular-season games. Along the way, Phillips joined captain Daniel Alfredsson as the only players to reach the 1,000-game career milestone by playing all of it for the Senators.
The highlight: Without question, it came on Feb. 9, when the Senators edged the Nashville Predators 4-3. Phillips produced his first two-goal game in more than two years, one of them being the game-winner. And all of that happened to fall on the evening he played his 1,000th career NHL game. They write movies about nights like that.
Looking forward: With Filip Kuba departing via free agency, Phillips' veteran presence becomes even more critical in the season to come — especially considering the Senators' blue-line brigade includes two new names (Marc Methot and Mike Lundin) and could add another young face, such as Mark Borowiecki or Patrick Wiercioch, to the group. Expect Phillips to provide the same kind of steady, stay-at-home presence that has been the hallmark of the career of the former No. 1 pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
Quote (on his 1,000th career game): "What can you say? It was just an unbelievable night to begin with. It just kept getting better and better. How often do I score, let alone two? And (to have) the game-winner ..."