Milestone for Sens' Phillips

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:39 PM ET

Chris Phillips will reach a milestone on Boxing Day.

After spending the two-day Christmas break in Ottawa with his family, Phillips will return to play his 900th NHL game vs. the Penguins at Scotiabank Place and he understands the significance of doing it with one team.

I havent thought about it a lot, said Phillips before the players headed their separate ways Thursday. Its a nice achievement, but its not like 1,000 games. Thats obviously a lot bigger.

The fact that Im going to be able to do this 900 times with the same team is something thats nice. Early in my career there were trade rumours. I look back upon those now and Im thankful nothing ever did happen.

Ive always been a guy who has tried to put the team first and Im pretty proud of the relationship I have with this team and this community. Its nice that Ive been able to spend my whole career here.

With the Senators set to reach the midway point of their schedule on Jan. 7, Phillips, a pending unrestricted free agent next summer, hasnt had any talks with GM Bryan Murray about a new contract.

There were preliminary discussions at the start of the season. Both sides agreed they wanted to get something done, but wanted time to tick away on the regular season before having a serious chat.

Phillips, 32, wants to play No. 1,000 with Ottawa.

When youve played 900 with one team, of course you want (to play 1,000) with that team, said Phillips. It would be tough to think about doing it somewhere else. I dont think about that much or worry about it.

Phillips could be a desirable deadline rental for a contender if the Senators wanted to trade him, but they havent discussed that possibility with him.

Phillips, who has a no- movement clause, is leaving contract talks to agent Stacey McAlpine.

Ive just stayed out of it, said Phillips, who is making $3.5 million US this season. Its not that I dont want anything to happen. I just dont know what theyre thinking.

This hasnt been an easy season for Phillips. The departure of longtime defence partner Anton Volchenkov to the Devils made for a difficult adjustment in training camp.

The Senators wanted to pair Phillips with newcomer Sergei Gonchar from Day 1. That didnt happen due to an injury to Filip Kuba. Since then, everybody has gone through various bouts with inconsistency.

Phillips appears to have settled in with Erik Karlsson and, generally speaking, has been more consistent lately.

So, whats the secret? Hes wearing new blades.

I dont ever want to blame equipment, but Ive felt a lot better since I got new skates, said Phillips. I felt like I was sitting too far back in the old ones.

I just feel like Ive got a lot more under me when Im getting up into the play.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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