Ottawa is home to two pro sports teams: the CFL's RedBlacks and the NHL's Senators (who wear red and black.) The RedBlacks won the Grey Cup in 2016.
Ottawa's previous CFL franchise was called the Rough Riders. I only know that because of South Park (who had the idea of fighting with Canada waaaay before Trump.)
The Senators were champions of the Eastern Conference in 2006-07, losing to Anaheim in the Stanley Cup Final.
Daniel Alfredsson is the Senators' all-time leading scorer and served as Sens captain for 13 seasons.
"Alfie" was a universally-respected superstar...or so I thought. When he retired in 2014 a lot of fans - particularly in Anaheim - trashed him for shooting the puck at Scott Niedermayer in the SCF. First of all, Scotty wasn't exactly a saint himself. And second, the Ducks were gooning it up all series. I don't blame Daniel - or any Senator - for being frustrated.
I have 17 Alfredsson cards - including a relic and an auto. I had his 1995-96 Finest RC on my want list forever, but I gave up on that set once the cards started turning yellow. Such a shame.. I loved that set.
Erik Karlsson is the Sens' current captain. The two-time Norris Trophy winner is the NHL's best offensive defenseman. His 66 assists in 2015-16 led all NHL players and he finished tied for 4th in total points with 82. I only have one EK RC - the Ultra you see above. I was lucky to get it as the Karlsson craze was well underway when I snatched it up for $1.25 on COMC.
Karlsson has been in the news off the ice - initially due to his impending free agency, and more recently because his wife has been the target of cyberbullying by teammate Mike Hoffman's fiancee. That's not going to help efforts to keep Erik in Ottawa.
Hoffman is one of a handful of NHL regulars who did not have a rookie card in Upper Deck's flagship set. I once had an idea to make a Puck Junk-type post of the top players who do not have a Young Guns RC. I scrapped the idea because I didn't want to write it without providing a "what-if" custom card of each player..and I don't know PhotoShop.
Birthday boy Jason Spezza averaged a point a game over his eleven seasons with the Senators. He was the draft pick the Sens received from the Islanders in the Alexei Yashin deal.
I've often discussed my star player base card box on this blog, and how I decide on which players to put in or take out. These Jason Spezza cards are in the box - but I haven't thought of him as a star in years. (A star player that is..there's no denying he's a Star.)
Ottawa also received Zdeno Chara in the Yashin trade. Another classic "Mad Mike" move.
Martin Havlat cards kept popping out of my packs in the 2000s. I got the Game Dated Moments card from a pack I bought at a memorabilia store in a Washington D.C. mall.
The current Senators have never won the Stanley Cup, but the original Ottawa Senators won three championships in the early days of the NHL.
Frank Finnigan's #8 is retired by the current franchise. Daniel Alfredsson is the only other Senator to receive this honor.
Those of us who just witnessed the Vegas Golden Knights competing for a Stanley Cup in their first season might find it hard to remember when expansion teams were terrible. Ottawa won ten games in their initial campaign..and lost 70. When Alexandre "The Great" arrived in 1993 he was seen as the Sens' savior.
Score offered Daigle's rookie card as a mail-in redemption, which was a tough pull at the time. My father in law wrote a complaint letter to Score after buying boxes of '93-94 Score that didn't contain a Daigle redemption. The company did send him a Daigle, to their credit.
Alex is a cautionary tale of what happens when a struggling franchise hands the keys to an overhyped 18 year-old. Daigle was a decent player on a team completely bereft of supporting talent - which made him an absolute bust in the eyes of many hockey fans. Perhaps he bought into his own hype. Or perhaps a better team with stronger leadership would have kept him in line and brought out the best in him.
Favorite Senators player (current): Erik Karlsson
Favorite Senators player (all-time): Daniel Alfredsson, Radek Bonk
Next tour stop: Philadelphia
Thanks for reading!