Silver Nuggets: Top 10 Senators Headlines of 2013

Bye. - Justin K. Aller

It's been a busy year for the Senators with many highs and lows. Here's a look at the top stories from 2013.

10. Ottawa's poor play to start the 2013-2014 season. Predicted by many to contend in the East, the Senators have struggled through the first half of 2013-2014. A long, western road trip to start the season went poorly. Complicating matters is Ottawa's poor play at home this season and the team's inability to win 2 games in a row through November and December.

9. Paul MacLean's "Player 61" quote. It was the quote that got under Montreal's skin and seemed to distracted Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien's who responded with the equally mocked "disrespect" line. MacLean won the war of words and the coaching battle and was reward with a 4-1 series victory.

8. The emergence of Kyle Turris. While Turris led the Senators in scoring in 2012-2013, the absence of key offensive players such as Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, and Milan Michalek contributed to that. It's been different in 2013-2014. Turris established chemistry with newly-acquired wingers Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan early in the season and have been Ottawa's best line through 40 games. Here's hoping they stick together.

7. Paul MacLean wins the Jack Adams Award. After guiding the injury-riddled Senators into the playoffs, MacLean was nominated for the Jack Adams Award for the second year in a row. On June 14, 2013 he won the award for the first time in his career and would sign a 3-year extension 3 weeks later.

6. Jean-Gabriel Pageau's Game 3 hat trick. It took one playoff game for the diminutive 20-year-old to write himself into Sens lore. His hat trick against the Canadiens in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Final had fans chanting his name and rightly so: he accomplished something no Senator not named Daniel Alfredsson has: score a hat trick in a playoff game.

5. Craig Anderson's Vezina-calibre play. Before he sprained his ankle and missed 18 games with a sprained ankle, Andy was the Vezina-favourite early in the season. He finished the season with just 24 games, but a .941 SV % (an NHL record) and a 1.69 GAA).

4. Jason Spezza named captain. At 30, Spezza was named the eighth captain in team history on September 14, 2013. He faced a daunting task, stepping into Daniel Alfredsson's shoes, who had worn the ‘C' since 1999. Coming off an injury-plagued season, Spezza would have to redefine himself as a player as he took on the responsibility of the captaincy and try to win over the legion of Sens fans that have never warmed to the talented centre.

3. The Bobby Ryan trade. Bobby Ryan had been on the block in Anaheim for some time and Ottawa landed the sniper on July 5, 2013 a few hours after Alfredsson officially signed with the Red Wings. The precise motivation for the move will probably remain open to debate, but the acquisition of Ryan helped to slightly mitigate the loss of the Senators long-time captain. On the day he was traded he excitedly tweeted "I'm comin in hot" and in his first half-season in the capital, he's delivered.

2. Erik Karlsson's Achilles injury. Karlsson had a great 2012: he won the Norris, signed a new long-term deal, and was on fire in Finland during the lockout. 2013 started the same way. But all the changed on February 13, 2013 when Matt Cooke finished a check on Karlsson in the corner and in the process, lacerated Karlsson's left Achilles tendon. The moment was capture in a photo that showed Karlsson howling in pain. For Sens fans, it was also a moment of horror. We wondered how bad he was hurt, how long he would be out, and if he would ever be the same. Despite a 4-6 month estimated recovery time, Karlsson was back in exactly 10 weeks. It was remarkable, it was amazing. Yet it was clear he wasn't back to his old self yet and that narrative continued into the 2013-2014. As we near the anniversary of his injury, Karlsson looks more and more like his old self.

1. Daniel Alfredsson signs with the Red Wings. As divisive as it was heartbreaking, Alfredsson's messy break-up with Ottawa was the top Senators story from 2013. In fact, his decision is one of the most significant moments in Sens history and July 5, 2013 is one of the most significant dates in team history. It set the tone for a generally negative second half of 2013.

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