What if the original Ottawa Senators never left?
What if the financial pressures of the Great Depression didn’t cause the original team to leave town in 1934 for St. Louis only to fold shortly thereafter? The Senators would have played in the Original Six era (1942-43 to the 1967 NHL Expansion), a period of no players’ union, historic dynasties, and monopolistic control of professional hockey. There was no Entry Draft, and prospects in their early teens were recruited from Canadian towns to join minor league affiliates.
With that context in mind, which six starters from the Original Six era (1942-43 to 1967) would you build your team around?
They don’t need to be the best players of that era: they could be the toughest, reflecting the physicality of a truly different era, they could reflect the Senators’ English-French recruiting region, or your team’s starting line-up could be comprised of the men who won the most Cups during that period.
My fantasy Original Six era Senators would be: Stan Mikita, C; Bobby Hull, LW; Maurice Richard, RW; Tim Horton, D; Doug Harvey, D; and Jacques Plante, G
Stan Mikita, C: Not only was Mikita one of the best centers of the era, amassing 1467 career points, he played his whole career with the Blackhawks, and was a beloved captain (sound familiar?). In addition he helped popularize the curved stick. But really, would he be on this list without Wayne’s World and Stan Mikita’s Donuts?
Bobby Hull, LW: Best pure sniper ever? In almost 1500 career NHL/WHA games he had over 900 career goals. Also, he was a marketing dream – in his prime, he had movie star good looks. Check out Hull pitching hay:
Maurice Richard, C: 50 in 50, first to 500 career goals, 5 straight Stanley Cups. Has his own Heritage Minute. Oh yeah, and the people of Montreal rioted in his honour. Plus, he was immortalized by Roch Carrier:
Tim Horton, D: Has his own museum in Cochrane, ON. Plus there’s that whole doughnut empire. Tim Horton’s and Stan Mikita’s Donuts could fight it out for Canadian doughnut supremacy and both would be associated with the Sens.
Doug Harvey, D: 7 Norris Trophies, 6 Stanley Cups, and secretly blacklisted by the NHL for trying to start up a union. Punishment? Banished to the Rangers. Response? Wins 7th Norris.
Jacques Plante, G: 5 straight Cups, literally changed the face the game. Has his own Heritage Minute.
The unifying theme of my selection process was not only players who were Hall of Famers, but were legendary. Players who would provide stories for fans to celebrate and pass on for years to come. Players who would inspire Ottawa’s songwriters to pen catchy songs that become Canadian sports anthems for years to come.
What does your team look like?