With the Senators rookie camp about to get underway next week, it reminded me that I've attended a handful of these things back when it used to be hosted in Ottawa nearly every year. Going through the old boxes I was only able to find one shred of evidence of those games and it's this cheap little lineup sheet they handed out at the 2002 tournament which I believe was played at the Guertin Arena in Hull (though I may be off a year). I think I got this at the Panthers-Senators tilt and I remember walking by both Mike Keenan and Jacques Martin on the concourse as they chatted with each other quite seriously. Keenan was the coach of the Panthers then but watched the game from above as his assistants coached the rookies. Same for Martin as the lineup sheet indicates Perry Pearn and Roger Neilson ran the bench for Ottawa.
Of course there are some notable rookies for the Sens, including a handful who would help them to the Stanley Cup final only four seasons later. Ray Emery, Brian McGrattan, Jason Spezza, Black Aces fave Anton Volchenkov, Antoine Vermette (here spelled Anton) and Christoph Schubert. Notice the ones that got away like Tim Gleason and Brooks Laich.
Lots of interesting names for the Coyotes (Eager, Sjostrom), Panthers (Bouwmeester, Weiss) and Canadiens (Komisarek, Plekanek), the other three teams who took part that year, but there are just as many who never made it to the NHL, which is always a bit of a warning for fans who watch every move these rookies make and become convinced they're watching the next Jeff Skinner. Chances are, you're watching the next Jon Insana.
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