Time about to run out on Redden

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

While Wade Redden knew this day would be upon him, he just didn't think it would be so soon.

With Ottawa facing elimination from the playoffs tonight, there might be a few anxious moments for the Senators defenceman as he pulls on his No. 6 sweater for what could be the final time.

Now, 931 regular-season and playoff games later, the 31-year-old's quest to raise the Stanley Cup on a warm Ottawa day isn't likely to happen.

The significance of game No. 932 -- if it is the last one -- hasn't been lost on Redden.

"It's crossed my mind for sure," said Redden, struggling to find words. "It's not something I've thought about a lot. You don't want to think that way at this time of year. You only worry about one game at a time. That's all I can look at."

Redden, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has seen it all with the Senators while growing up with the likes of Chris Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson.

Redden has been through the heartbreaks, the years the Senators couldn't get past the Maple Leafs in the post-season and the loss of his mother, Pat, to cancer in 2006.

Through all the ups and downs, Redden's goal never changed: Win with the Senators.

He could have walked away two years ago as a UFA and nobody would have blamed him. Instead, Redden decided to stay with the team that supported him through his mother's last days because he felt there was some unfinished business with the Senators.

After the Senators reached the Stanley Cup final last spring against the Ducks, it's hard to believe that this is the way it's going to end for Redden in Ottawa.

Redden, using his no-trade clause, turned down a deal to the Oilers last summer because he was determined to win with Ottawa.

Then, there was a meeting with Senators coach and GM Bryan Murray just before the trade deadline when Redden could have accepted a deal to the Sharks that also came with a three-year, $16.5-million US extension from San Jose.

But again Redden refused.

Redden knew with the struggles he was having on the ice and with his role slipping that some fans would have appreciated if he'd been shown the way to San Jose. He is also aware there are some hockey people who think he was insane not to get out of Ottawa for a fresh start.

But Redden has never given any thought to playing anywhere else. You can criticize his play, but you can never question his loyalty.

And now his career as a Senator has come to this.

"I certainly didn't predict or could have guessed we'd be in this situation. It's where we're at right now," said Redden. "The only thing we can do is come (tonight), ready to play and ready to win a game. That's what we're faced with right now."

While Redden faces an uncertain future, he will be a hot commodity on the free-agent market this summer.

But come the fall, he'll be wearing the colours of a different NHL team.

Tonight, Redden should stop and pause before he puts on his Senators sweater.

Things might not end in Ottawa the way he would have liked, but he can look back and realize, at times, it's been a wonderful ride.


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