Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - Ottawa

The Collector's Sports Card tour is doing our patriotic duty and invading the capital city of America's most dangerous global rival. Today we're in Ottawa.

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.

Last but least, no mention of the Ottawa Senators franchise and their hockey cards would be complete without the infamous #1 overall pick Alexandre Daigle.

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!



  1. There was a team in Ottawa between the Rough Riders and the Red Blacks.. The Ottawa Renegades.. They played from 2002-2006..

    Ottawa had a Triple A baseball team at one point, the Ottawa Lynx. They were the top club for Baltimore, Montreal, and Philly before being moved to Lehigh Valley.

    Honestly, I'm now expecting Trump to come on TV one day singing Blame Canada from the South Park Movie.. Though, to be fair, the movie Canadian Bacon did it first lol

    I remember playing the old NHL games when Ottawa first joined.. The team was horrid.. But it mirrored the team on the ice.. lol

  2. To be honest, until I read this blog post I would not have been able to name one player on the Senators. I am sure that I have some cards of the Senators in my goalie collection though.

  3. The Redblacks sound far cooler when they're announced in French, as the Ottawa Rouge et Noir.

  4. It's amazing how a team so close to the Stanley Cup Final a year ago has become kind of a train wreck.

    I actually have a Martin Havlat Senators jersey in my closet. Been a while since I wore it, I may have to break it out soon...

  5. I know nobody asked, but I much prefer the old school Sens logo over the more recent.

  6. I remember the bad, old Senators days. I was required to do a story on whether the Senators purposely threw games to get the top draft pick.

    The best part of Ottawa's old Rough Riders franchise was that there were once two CFL teams named the Rough Riders (Ottawa and Saskatchewan), leading to the old Martin Short joke, "you could be passing by the TV in Canada and hear 'Rough Riders 28, Roughriders 7'"

    1. The Simpsons made a few jokes about the two Riders teams

  7. The Senators logo may be my favorite in all of sports. I am a Roman History nut, afterall, and their whole theme is based around that. Karlsson's behind the net goal on the Rangers in the playoffs last year is painful as a Rangers fan, but holy-crap-that-was-incredible as a hockey fan. Bizarre stuff going on with that team lately. Even so, and even though they knocked my team out of the playoffs last year, I still like them.

  8. I actually pulled one of Daigle’s redemption cards at the time, I was pretty excited. I kept the hole punched redemption card and the Daigle RC for many years, probably up until 2-3 years ago.

  9. Not really a fan of Ottawa teams. Not sure why. So I can't give a favored player

  10. Did not know that there was an original Ottawa Senators team. Though admittedly I don't know much hockey history.

  11. My favorite Ottawa Senator: Daniel Alfredsson

    I actually have a small PC of him. I haven't added anything new to it in years... but if I came across any discounted cards of him, I'd probably add them.