Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rookie Camp Retro

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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phil said...

how did we ever let jeff szwez get away?!

Anonymous said...

The thing with Brooks Laich is that I'm not convinced that he would be the player that he is today, if he stayed with the Sens.

In Washington, he landed on a bad team so he got lots of good minutes and good opportunities to show his stuff. He's blossomed as a result.

In Ottawa, who's ice time would he have taken. Havlat? Fisher? Vermette? Schaefer (he had 50 points in 05-06)?

If you look at Vermette, his offensive totals, over the last two years, have been better than Laich. I think we let Vermette get away.

But, at the same time, Vermette's numbers have popped because he's getting better opportunities.

Michael Fisher Portnoy III said...

I actually have the game worn Spezza jersey from the game against the Panthers. Won it at auction during a Season Ticket Holder event. The number of square looks i get every time i wear it to the rink. Want to REALLY have some fun? Wear a Spezza #44 jersey to the ACC for Sens/Leafs. Silly confused people...

Jeremy Milks said...

Hey Michael, that's a great littel piece of memorabilia. How did you get it?

Anonymous said...

"Won it at auction during a Season Ticket Holder event"
Michael mentions this...

Man I miss those teams, I miss the pre-Murray era even more. Having a young, exciting, fast team that was at the top of the league despite financial constraints...and having GMs that were under the radar (Muckler excepted)...don't know how good you have it until it's gone I guess.

Thanks for sharing!