Interesting words from Chris Phillips today, as he says he doesn't want to leave Ottawa (which he has talked about before) and would like to be part of the "rebuild" that is going on here.
The sentiment going around after that interview seems to be that Phillips has now given notice that he won't waive his no-trade clause, although he hasn't specifically said those words (and in fact, said it was "one day at a time here"). On top of that, there is no one on the record saying that GM Bryan Murray has even asked Phillips to waive it in the first place.
The rest, as is normal for this time of year, is pure speculation.
But let's say Murray were to approach Phillips and ask him to waive the clause so he can be traded. And let's say Phillips makes a decision not to waive it and stay in Ottawa for the rest of the season in hopes of getting a new contract here in the summer.
My guess is that a lot of fans will be all over this guy for no good reason, and in fact someone left a comment in my last post saying how furious they were about Phillips apparent refusal to waive, and suggested the best way to go about changing his mind would be to start a "character assassination" against him.
Real classy stuff there.
If this scenario were to happen, it should be remembered that Phillips bargained for his no-trade clause in his contract and got it fair and square. If he doesn't want to move his family from a city he obviously loves to play in, how can anyone begrudge him that? What the fans want is completely irrelevant. This is his job and he is allowed to exert a certain amount of control over his destination. Knowing Bryan Murray, he will certainly respect the decision of Phillips either way and try to do the best for him and his family.
The very fact that he wants to stay in Ottawa should prove that he's a player the Senators should keep in town, and not pawn off for a draft pick that likely won't pan out anyways.
The fans may be riding the temporary sugar rush of big name trades, but when that high dissipates, they may find a team almost completely barren of tried and true NHL players.
A youth movement is a great thing, and probably a necessary strategy for this team going forward, but you also can't send out six rookies on defense and expect to win any hockey games.
Who better to show Jared Cowen the ropes than Chris Phillips? You think the Senators want Cowen learning his game from Filip Kuba?
Phillips, at only 32 years of age, has a lot of good years left in him and if Senators fans are lucky enough, he'll still be here next season when they will need his experience and leadership more than ever.
As a final word on Chris Kelly, I just noticed today that he will remain two games behind Shaun Van Allen on the all-time Senators games played list, and this is somewhat appropriate given that Kelly chose number 22 in homage to Van Allen, who was a big influence on him during the short time they were teammates.
If the torch was passed from Van Allen to Kelly, who is next in line to be that gritty, smart two-way forward? My pick would be Jesse Winchester who could end up having a similar career to both of those guys if he can stay healthy.
Maybe Winchester may keep the tradition alive and change his number to 22 next year as well.
Now that would be a good story, huh?