The first big news of the day/night before was that Chris Phillips re-signed in Ottawa for 3 seasons at a cap hit of just over 3 million and avoided being moved to another team during today's feeding frenzy where organizations make more mistakes than at any time of the year.
Signing Phillips is a great move by GM Bryan Murray, but as to be expected, a lot of the reaction has been negative, most of it boorishly so. It's almost as if people think the Senators are doing Chris Phillips a favour here. Not so. In fact, it's the other way around. Phillips would have gotten more than 3.1 million on the open market this summer, so right away Phillips is leaving money on the table. He's also taking a pay cut from his current salary, so to imply that this is a charitable contract just doesn't make any sense whatsoever.
I also find it almost incomprehensible that some fans are so spoiled that they would criticize a player who actually wants to play for the Senators. It wasn't that long ago that this team was considered a joke around the league and were in danger of being moved to an American city less than a decade ago. Nobody wanted to play here due to instability, high taxes and the tight budget this team operated under. I'm guessing a lot of "new fans" don't remember any of this. Perhaps they should brush up on their history by reading Roy MacGregor's book "Road Games" and realize it's even a privilege to have an NHL team in this city, let alone a franchise defenseman who actually wants to help this team win.
People have been so caught up in this "rebuild" that they want to see everybody thrown overboard without thinking of the consequences. To win in the NHL, you need NHL defenseman, and Chris Phillips is a damn good one who's only 32 years old right now. 3 million dollars for a defenseman who is respected around the league is a pittance, especially on a team that is going to be nowhere near the salary cap ceiling. In fact, they are required to hit the cap floor which is a bylaw put in to prevent teams from trying to tank seasons.
My guess is that Filip Kuba gets bought out of the final year of his deal if he can't be dealt today or by the draft, saving the team some hard cash in the process and opening up more spots for the younger prospects on defense.
If Murray was mulling whether to keep Phillips or Kuba, then he certainly made the right choice. It will be a good night when Phillips plays in his 1000th game next season, all of them in the black and red sweater.
We'll be back after all the dust settles after the deadline with a wrap-up of the big day.