Ahead of alumni game, ex-Sens recall what might have been

As Ottawa Senators of eras past lace up to play in Friday's alumni game on Parliament Hill, some are remembering how close they came to hockey's ultimate prize.

'We had some great runs and great times, and I will remember those forever'

Former Ottawa Senators forward Martin Havlat helped the team win the Presidents' Trophy for 2001-2002. He will lace up alongside former teammates at the Sens' outdoor alumni game on Parliament Hill Friday night. (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

The gleaming outdoor rink. The cold. And what might have been.

Those three things were on the minds of some former Ottawa Senators as they prepared to face off in Friday night's outdoor alumni game on Parliament Hill.

We had teams that, you know, we really thought that we could win. It's just too bad, but it's all part of it.- Mike Fisher, former Ottawa Senator

Fresh off retirement from the Nashville Predators and his trip to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, centre Mike Fisher said the time has passed quickly since his previous trip to the championship round — with the Sens — in 2007.

"I haven't seen some of the guys in a long time, and seeing some of their kids, some of them are taller than me now," Fisher said Friday.

"I feel very blessed to have been here for that long, and play with just some great players on great teams. Talking with some of the guys last night, we had teams that, you know, we really thought that we could win. It's just too bad, but it's all part of it."

'Those were my best years'

Minding the net for the Sens in those big playoff runs of the early 2000s was Patrick Lalime, 43, who went on to play for the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres.

"For me, those were my best years of hockey. Being here in Ottawa, great city, it feels like a second home for me," Lalime said.

"We had so many good players that were part of that team. We can see a lot of them tonight. We're still very good friends."
Patrick Lalime was netminder for the Ottawa Senators from 1999 to 2004, and was all-time wins leader among Sens goalies until last season when he was overtaken by current starter Craig Anderson.

The city, and the team, also remain dear to Martin Havlat. 

"It was my first jersey I ever wore. That's where I got to play my first season and it's always going to be special to wear this jersey. It's special to see a lot of the boys from the time I was here," Havlat said. 

"We had great teams and great individuals when I was playing here during my time. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done all the way, but we had some great runs and great times, and I will remember those forever."