Senators Alphabet: P is for Peter

P is for Peter, but not Peter Sidorkiewicz, a Polish Peter, Ottawa's first number one goalie. Drafted in the 5th round by the Washington Capitals in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, the Sens claimed Sidorkiewicz from the Whalers in the 1992 NHL Expansion Draft. Peter spent a season with the Sens, and put up very ordinary (bad) numbers on a terrible team (64 GP, 8 W, 46 L, 3 T, .856 SV%, 4.43 GAA). Peter's play was good enough (every team needs a rep) to represent the Senators in the NHL All-Star game that year, his first and only time. In the off-season he was traded to the Devils for Craig Billington, Troy Mallette, and a fourth round draft pick, spending the majority of the next five years in the AHL and IHL before retiring in 1998.

P is for Peter, but not Pierre Gauthier, a Canadian Peter, who was the General Manager of the Ottawa Senators from 1995 to 1998. Despite signing a five-year contract, Pierre left two years early because of family issues and a desire to explore his options outside of hockey. Yet seventeen days later, he was re-hired by the Mighty Ducks, his previous employer. Pierre can currently be found doing a fabulous job running the Montreal Canadiens looking for a new job.

P is for Peter, but not Per Gustafsson, a Swedish Peter, who played nine games for the Sens in 1997-98. Playing less than 100 games in the NHL, Per or "Pelle G" as fans for the SEL team HV71 refer to him, has played nearly two decades in the SEL, and has won the league championship three times.

P is for Peter, but not Petr Schastlivy, a Russian Peter, who played 107 games for the Senators from 1999-2004. The Sens traded Petr to the Mighty Ducks in February 2004 for Todd Simpson. At the end of that season, Petr return to the Russia, where the left winger has plied his trade with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Khimik Moscow Oblast, and currently plays for CSKA Moscow in the KHL. He is also married to Latvian long jumper Ineta Radēviča, the 2010 European Champion and 2011 World Championships Bronze medallist.

P is for Peter, but not Peter Schaefer, a Canadian Peter, who played 315 games for the Senators between 2002 and 2007. Peter was acquired by the Senators for oft-injured, but talented, defenseman Sami Salo. In his final two seasons with the Senators Peter produced career bests, even if he left Sens fans wanting more: in 2005-06 he recorded career-highs with 20 goals, 30 assists, for 50 points in 82 games; in 2006-07 he contributed 12 goals, 34 assists for 46 points in 77 games, and another six points during the Cup run. In the off-season, new GM Bryan Murray traded Peter to the Boston Bruins for Shean Donovan.

P is for Peter, but not Peter Bondra, a Slovakian Peter, who played 23 games with the Senators in 2003-04. A seventeen-year NHL veteran, Bondra played over 1000 games in the NHL and scored over 500 goals - 5 of them with the Senators. Acquired for Brooks Laich and a second round pick, Bondra played all seven games in the Senators first-round playoff series against the Maple Leafs and had 0 goals, 0 assists, and 0 points.

P is for Peter, but not for Peter Regin, a Danish Peter, who has played 151 games for the Sens since 2008. Injury problems have derailed Peter's career and limited him to just 10 games this season.

No, P is for Peter, as in Peter Raaymakers, the rock on which Silver Seven Sens is founded. This Peter founded the site and originally was the only author. I first encountered Peter's work at the Sens Army Blog and touched base with that site occasionally. I lived in Ottawa for five years while attending university. I had been a Sens fan for a couple years before my move, but moving to the city made me a diehard fan; living in Ottawa took my commitment further, made the Senators a part of my identity. Ottawa is a small market team and cheering for them is still something of an oddity to other people. This makes cheering for the Sens even more personally defining. I remember taking "Go Sens Go" placards from the lampposts on Laurier Avenue during the 2004 playoffs to decorate my dorm room with. I still have one and drag it out at playoff time. I lived, worked, and went to school in Ottawa and had friends, acquaintances, and co-workers who followed the team in varying degrees, from casual fan to fanatic. You know the type: centurion-dressing, homemade aluminum foil Stanley Cup carrying, fan since 1992 types. I could watch the Sens on local channels, attend games, and talk to people about my team.

In the summer of 2008, I moved to southwestern Ontario. Moving, starting a new job, and attending a new school are adjustments; feeling dislocated from your team and alienated because you live in a city with allegiances to two older and more storied clubs, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings, plain and simply sucks. I expanded my jersey collection, I bought Sens coasters, t-shirts, and hats, anything to feel more connected to my club. I listened to games online, the play-by-play cutting out because of a less than stable internet connection. I watched a half-dozen games a year online and could be thrown into a rage at seeing the dreaded, game pausing word: buffering.

But it wasn't enough. The first two years I lived here, I didn't know a single person who cheered for the Sens. The problem with cheering for a small market team is you can't get enough mainstream information about them. It just doesn't exist on mainstream sites. So I turned to blogs. I poked around first, rejected a few outright for their poor writing, their ignorant bias, or subtle sexism, and became aware of Peter's work. I followed him to Silver Seven Sens, checking in periodically in those first few months.

And then June, 2009 happened. Dany Heatley demanded a trade. And then Dany Heatley rejected a trade and demanded another one. Ottawa was on the receiving end of constant jokes, speculation, and collective hysteria. As the saga dragged on for the entire summer, the negativity got worse and worse. During the Dany Heatley-saga, I was studying for the first of three comprehensive examinations. The comps process is all-day, all-night, everyday stress. And it goes on for a year or more. That's what that summer was for me: a ton of work and stress. In times like that, you turn to your favourite sports teams and they provide relief, they lighten the load for a few hours a night. But Dany Heatley made it worse. I needed something more reliable and reasonable to wade through than the NHL rumour mill and TSN/Sportsnet panels. I needed something that connected me with other Sens fans because we were all blindsided by a star player. And that's when Silver Seven became a daily read for me.

I stalked the site for a year and a half before finally posting my first comment a year ago. I appreciated how warmly people on the site welcomed "Laurie Boschman". I never thought I would contribute posts to the site but I wanted to keep talking about my team. When I first envisioned the alphabet series as a fan post project, this was one of the posts I had in mind. I wanted the series to encompass as many aspects of the Sens community as possible: players, coaches, management, media, and the blogs many fans increasingly rely on.

So P is for Peter, as in Peter Raaymakers, the rock on which Silver Seven Sens is founded. But it's not just for Peter. It's for Darren, who started writing for the blog within days of its founding. It's for the sites' editors: Mark, Ryan, and Adnan. All of these guys make this site what it is. They contribute excellent writing, analysis, and contrasting opinions. They are committed to keeping the community fun, lively, and respectful. For those who don't follow other sports, the kind of forum we enjoy here can quickly descend into ignorance, racism, sexism, and homophobia, quickly degrading members. I'm thankful that doesn't happen here. Difference of opinion is allowed and cultivated and a plethora of hockey opinions are expressed. P is also for the authors and the people who contribute fan posts, the members who stop by the game day threads and share in each win and loss. It's for those who stop by and catch up on their team.

Thanks again to Peter and co. and as always, thanks for reading.

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