Up until a few days ago this post was planned to be about the draft.
Instead, a cloud has been cast over the Ottawa Senators as it was announced that Craig Anderson will not be returning for another season, and Bobby Ryan’s contract has been bought out. With Mark Borowiecki also slated to hit free agency, the three longest tenured Senators from the 2019-20 season will all be saying their goodbyes, with the keys firmly placed in the hope of a future core. Zero players now remain from the 2017 playoff run.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane. What are some of your favourite memories of Anderson and Ryan, whether it be on or off the ice? You can let us know in the comments section at the bottom — I’ve shared a couple standout moments below:
While he may have never fully lived up to the contract, on the ice there were games where Ryan would take complete control and have the Sens run away with the victory. Using Dom Luszczyszyn’s Game Score metric I’ve highlighted a couple of his top performances, plus some of his most important:
- December 7th, 2014 vs. Vancouver — After the Sens were down 3-0 halfway through the game, Ryan had the primary assists on both Mika Zibanejad goals to tie the game, plus an additional assist on Erik Karlsson’s OT winner. He was on the ice for a career-high 48 shot attempts while only giving up 14, for what may have been the biggest peak in Ryan’s on-ice career.
- December 29th, 2014 vs. Buffalo — Another incredible performance in the same month, picking up his first hat trick as a Senator in the 5-2 crushing of the Sabres. Bobby was only on the ice for only eight shot attempts against all game.
- April 17th, 2017 @ Boston — Ryan’s top playoff performance via Game Score happens to be the most memorable, notching the primary assist on a Derick Brassard goal then scoring the game-winning overtime goal to give the Sens a lead in the series. The pass from Karlsson, the give-and-go with Turris... a moment I’ll never forget.
- February 27th, 2020 vs. Vancouver — His final hat trick as a Senator came on an emotional evening, his first game back on home ice since returning from the NHL’s Player Assistance Program. The fans greeted him with open arms after he opened up to the media about his struggles with alcoholism, and he put on a show for the ages.
The Sens never really gave Anderson the treat of playing behind a solid defence corps, often placing him with the giant task of keeping the team together by the seams. Let’s look at some of his best moments:
- February 19th, 2011 @ Toronto — Possibly the greatest opening performance in Senators history? There’s been some good ones, but I don’t think anything comes close to Anderson posting an incredible 47-save shutout the day after he was traded, against none other than the rival Toronto Maple Leafs. With an entrance like that we should’ve seen from a mile away that he’d eventually become the greatest goalie in franchise history, after ruining the evening of eager Leafs fans.
- May 19th, 2013 vs. Pittsburgh — Going by the sheer number of saves made, Anderson’s record with Ottawa stands at 49 against the Penguins in a thrilling 2-1 double-overtime win. While Alfredsson’s last-minute game-tying goal and Colin Greening’s winner are generally the moments that stick out, let’s also remember that Anderson held back Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang for over 80 minutes of play to allow for one of the most memorable Sens games of the past decade.
- October 30th, 2016 — Anderson’s 37-save shutout against the Oilers was the secondary story of the game, as it was his first game back since finding out that his wife Nicholle had been diagnosed with cancer. With full support from his teammates, he somehow managed to play through the harrowing news to put up one of the best performances of his career. Nicholle has fortunately been cancer-free now since May 2017 — the couple will be missed dearly by the fanbase.
These were just some of my most memorable moments of these two in a Sens jersey, and I’d love to hear some of yours! Whether it be an in-game performance or an off-ice interaction, leave a comment below.