EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Recently rewarded with a multi-million dollar,
long-term contract and fresh off a starring role in Round 1 of the playoffs,
Chris Phillips is now earning some heady recognition across the league.
In the latest edition of The Hockey News, Phillips was declared the winner
of the publication's annual Rod Langway Award as the NHL's top defensive
The Senators veteran learned of the prestigious distinction after
yesterday's morning skate.
"There are a lot of guys out there who have the same role as me," he said.
"To be singled out is a big honour."
Phillips played in each of Ottawa's 82 games this season and was a plus-36,
tied for seventh best in the league. This was accomplished while generally
lining up alongside fellow 'shutdown' blueliner Anton Volchenkov (plus-37)
and against the opposition's top forwards.
Phillips and Volchenkov played key roles in the Senators' first-round
elimination of Pittsburgh when they were assigned to keep Sidney Crosby in
"Phillips is as smart as they come," Devils centre Scott Gomez said
yesterday. "With Volchenkov, they make a great pair. Phillips really picked
up his game this year."
Phillips also had a career high in goals (eight) and points (26), but it was
in the plus-minus department that he really made an impressive jump. His
previous best mark was set in 2005-06, when he was a plus-19.
"I was maybe more pleased with my consistency, going out every night with
Volchie and having that challenge of shutting down the top lines," Phillips
said when asked about the improvements in his game. "For the most part, I
thought we did a pretty good job of that.
"It's something to be proud of."