The only way you can get rid (of the reputation) is by showing up and winning," said centre Giggles [Jason Spezza]. "We are a different team than maybe the teams in the past that got beaten by the Leafs. There are not too many guys left in the room that were around then and those guys who are still here are here for a reason: They're good character guys.Who, exactly, is still left from those great BoOs? And what impact did they have on the team then? What have they done lately?
Well I did a little investigative work and found some answers. Of the sens roster (as per NHL.com) there are at least 9 players (or almost half for those gigglers among the readership) that have felt the ulcer-inducing agony of being eliminated at the hands of the senators' hated rivals. The following stats include games played in other series in 2001-2002 since it was actually a second round matchup. To account for that just assume that most of the points were accumulated in the non-Toronto series. Without further ado, your nine remaining 'character guys':
Daniel Alfreddson - 29GP 10-11-21 +6 in 4 career Leaf exits- On the surface that does not look too bad until you realize that 13 of those points came in the 2002 playoffs . Highlight of last year's playoffs: best seat in the house for the Pominville goal.
Mike Fisher - 21 GP 3-2-5 +3 in 3 career Leaf exits - Still young during those series but showed that the stench of defeat hung on his body last year as his 48 regular season points in 68 games translated into a meek 2-2-4 in 10 GP.
Chris Neil - 19 GP 0-1-1 -1 in 2 career Leaf exits - Not surprisingly, he was a non-entity in those series. Domi put up more points. He is expected to help set the physical tone of the series and probably would have done a good job with Roberts as his running mate. Who is Roberts? He'll be the guy that turns your defencemen into quivering masses of jelly every time they hear his striding into the zone. My guess he also outscores the irreplaceable Patrick Eaves.
Chris Phillips - 26Gp 2-1-3 +3 in 4 career Leaf exits - Fresh of signing a brand new 4-year $3.5M/year contract he wil be expected to provide the sort of defence that Wade Redden has not provided all year. Last year he contributed 2 goals and a -2 rating to the cause in 9 games but at least he wasn't on the ice for Pominville's goal.
Wade Redden - 23 GP 4-2-6 -4 in 3 career Leaf exits - This defensive rock was part of the amazing leadership/character duo that tried the famed dual pokecheck on Pominville's goal (look for it in a future Playoff Memories installment). Despite contributing 2-8-10 in 9 games last year he still managed to be a -2. My guess is that most of those points came against the overmatched Lightning. Expect to see figures similar to that -4 in this series along with a lot of shying away from Roberts.
The Babies (Shaeffer, Vermette, Volchenkov, Spezza) - 19GP 0-3-3 -2 in 1 career Leaf exit - The latter three were barely out of diapers for the 2004 series against the Leafs but they did get to see the game 7 loss up close and surely osmosis will take care of passing on the legacy of the other Leaf losses. Spezza put up a good account of himself, on the surface, last year with 5-9-14 in 10 GP. Unfortunately, if you look a little deeper you can see that 2-8-10 of those came in the Lightning series before Giggles disappeared against the Sabres.
Ray Emery - No career playoff exits - I added the tender to the list because I remembered an interesting stat from last year's round against the Sabres that showed that Rayzor was far from sharp in the extra period. In a series that saw all 5 games decided by 1 goal (there's that stigma again) with 3 going to an extra frame Emery stopped 1 of 4 shots combined in the three OT losses. He went 0-1, 1-2, 0-1 with the game on the line. Be sure to think of that stat if any game in this series happens to move towards the extra period.Those are the character guys that remain from the losses against the Leafs. That must make sens fans feel super confident if confident means that you will be counting down the games until these guys shut up shop and disappear.