Skip to main content

Chris Phillips

When Chris Phillips announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2016 season, he joined Gilbert Perreault and Denis Potvin as the only first overall draft picks to play an entire career of more than 1000 games all with his original franchise.

Phillips was no superstar like Perreault or Potvin. Instead he was the definition of a "stay-at-home defenseman" both literally and figuratively.

The Ottawa Senators drafted Phillips first overall in the 1996 NHL draft. He would go on to play 1179 regular season games with the Senators, and another 114 in the playoffs.

Through it all he saw superstars - Alexei Yashin, Dany Heatley, Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson - come and go. He saw coaches fires, playoff collapses and even the team filing for bankruptcy.

Through it all Chris Phillips was the one constant in the nation's capital city.

History will not remember Chris Phillips as one of the better first overall draft selections. A superstar he was not.

But he was a steady, stay-at-home defenseman for 19 NHL seasons - only three players in that entire draft played more games. He handled some big minutes in those games, too. He played hard and honest hockey, tough in a usually clean way.

Phillips was an underrated skater, as the big man looked a bit awkward with his short stride. In actuality he had decent speed and mobility for a bigger defenseman. It allowed him to mature into reliable defensive player.

For all the minutes played Phillips was not much of an offensive threat. He manned the point strongly, holding the line and getting pucks through blocked lanes and onto the net.

Unfortunately the most famous goal Chris Phillips ever scored was accidentally scored on his own net in game five of the Stanley Cup final against Anaheim in 2007. Yet Phillips took every reporter's question after that game when many players would have hid in the trainer's room. It is how Chris Phillips handled that situation that speaks far more about the man than the incident itself.

Ottawa never did win a Stanley Cup in Phillips' time there. Twice at the World Championships he also finished as a runner up, winning a silver medal with Canada in 2005 and 2009. He did win back-to-back World Junior gold medals in 1996 and 1997.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M