1000th game great memory for Phillips
Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
|Chris Phillips gets a close look at a mural honouring his 1,000th career NHL game. (ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency)
Chris Phillips was still smiling.
Fresh off his two-goal performance in a 4-3 win over Nashville in his 1,000th game Thursday, the accolades kept coming Friday when the Senators unveiled a commemorative mural near section 101 at Scotiabank Place.
With help from his friends, family, wife Erin, along with children Ben, 8, Zoe, 7, and Niomi, 4, Phillips took down the curtain that covered the huge photo essay in the hallway.
The party won’t stop there for the veteran blueliner. He’ll be honoured by the Senators, the NHL and his teammates before the puck is dropped against Edmonton Saturday to kick off Hockey Day in Canada.
“This really has been great. Something special I’ll always remember,” said Phillips. “It’s still going to take a bit of time (to think about it). When I look back on it, maybe have some time or when I’m done playing, (Thursday) night will certainly be one of the top (moments) for sure.”
Phillips, a No. 1 overall pick in 1996, is only the 46th player in NHL history to play his 1,000th career game with one franchise. A year ago, the Senators nearly dealt him at the deadline. Both sides are pleased that didn’t happen.
“If you let people like that go, you probably shortchange your organization for a number of years,” said GM Bryan Murray.
“We knew he was loyal to the city and to the team. That’s why he was important to keep.”
Murray said the performance by Phillips will be a lasting memory.
“When you see a guy that’s been around, tries as hard as he does and decides the outcome of a game, it’s really special,” said Murray. “In his 1,000th game, he steps up and does that, it’s very nice. It’s also very important that he was able to help the team as well.”
Coach Paul MacLean is going back to Craig Anderson Saturday. After being pulled less than four minutes into Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to St. Louis and being a spectator for the victory over Nashville, Anderson has essentially had a two-game break. “Sometimes it’s good to sit on the sidelines, watch a game and see how it is from the bench,” said Anderson, who had made 18 straight starts until backup Alex Auld got the nod Thursday. “You can learn and see how things are going from a different perspective. Overall, you just try to take it game-by-game. You don’t realize how tired mentally or physically you are. Sometimes sitting out is the best thing.” Anderson said he’d never ask to come out of the net. “Unless I’ve got an injury and can’t go, it’s going to be the coaches’ decision,” said Anderson. “There’s not many guys who are going to pull themselves off the ice.”
Captain Daniel Alfredsson had Friday off but he’ll play Saturday. C Zenon Konopka and D Matt Carkner will be healthy scratches for the second straight game.