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Longtime Senators defenseman Chris Phillips Retires From NHL

bob fina via flickr.com

Veteran defenseman Chris Phillips announced his retirement from the NHL on Thursday morning. Phillips spent his entire career with the Ottawa Senators after being the teams first overall pick in the 1996 NHL draft, becoming the first player in franchise history to play all their career games in a Senators jersey. The Senators announced that Phillips will join the team’s front office in an alumni and community relations role, keeping him in the organization.

After being the Senators 1st round pick, Phillips joined the team the next season, at just 18 years old, and helped the team find there way to the playoffs and finish with a record above .500 for the first time in franchise history. After missing over half the season in his sophomore campaign, Phillips played over 60 games every season, outside of the 2005, and 2013 seasons which were cut short because of the NHL lockouts, up until the 2014 season, which saw him only dress in 36 games, and then miss all of the 2015 season with a back injury.

While never being known for his offensive ability, Phillips became known as one of the top stay at home defenseman in the NHL, as well as a mainstay in the Senators lineup. He played in over 1000 games, all for the Senators, and also appeared in the playoffs 13 times in his career, but was never able to help the Senators win the Stanley Cup.

At his press conference this morning, Phillips said he was not ready to stop playing in the NHL, but for health reasons he had no choice. “It’s tough to not have that choice (to decide), to be told your back’s not good enough, but at the same time, in hindsight, it’s probably the best thing to be honest with you. “I think I’ve known in my head and my heart for a little while, today is a happy day for me.”

 

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