February 10, 2012
Sens to honour Phillips during Oilers visit
By Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency
Chris Phillips had a memorable night Thursday against the Nashville Predators.
The Ottawa Senators defenceman scored his first two goals of the season on a night he was playing his 1,000th NHL game.
Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers, Phillips will be honoured by the team for reaching the milestone.
Phillips is a rare breed, playing for just one team through his entire NHL career after the Senators made him the first overall pick in the 1996 NHL Draft.
“It was a special night to begin with and to top it off with a couple of goals, I couldn’t ask for more (Thursday) night, it was a lot of fun,” Phillips said. “I think it’s going to take a little bit of time, but when I look back on it, or am done playing, (Thursday) night will be one of the top moments of my career for sure.”
Spezza in awe of Gagner
Jason Spezza has had his share of hot streaks, but nothing like Sam Gagner is going through at the moment.
“I’ve never had eight points in the NHL, but I did have a few hot streaks in junior,” Spezza said. “I also had a couple of good streaks in the NHL. When you’re an offensive player, and you feel good it seems like the puck just finds you and you’re always in the right spot.
“Gags has a real high hockey IQ, so you can see why it’s happening, he gets himself in the right areas and it’s not by fluke that he’s having the success he’s having. He’s playing calmer and getting himself in good areas. ”
Heading into Saturday’s matinee, Gagner has 15 points in his last five games. He currently has eight goals in four games, buoyed by a four-goal, eight-point night just over a week ago against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Senators are looking to cool him off.
“You have to make sure you pick up his linemates around him, but those guys are going good, so you just can’t give them any free opportunities,” Spezza said. “They’re going to create chances and get chances themselves, you just can’t give them those free opportunities by turning the puck over.”
Memory lane for Gilbert — sort of
Tom Gilbert has fond memories of Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
The Edmonton Oilers defenceman scored his first career NHL goal against the Senators, which proved to be a key marker at the time.
“The first four games of my career were interesting,” Gilbert said. “The first one was on my birthday, the second was in Minnesota, the third one here I scored my first goal, and the fourth one I suffered my first concussion.”
Gilbert, 29, made his Oilers debut towards the second half of the 2006-07 season.
After scoring in Ottawa, the Bloomington, Minn., native was knocked out cold by Jody Shelley in Columbus the next game.
“I’ll never forget those games,” said Gilbert. “Well, maybe the fourth one.”