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Originally I had selected Alexei Yashin for the Ottawa Senators. I did so reluctantly because he is not really one of the players fans should most wish they could see again, even in his prime.
While the Sens needed a puck-moving defenceman more than a forward, the best retired player who had patrolled the blue line for Ottawa was Wade Redden. My reasoning was Redden was more likely to return to come out of retirement than Yashin, and was not as good a player with or after Ottawa as Yashin was.
I could have chosen Dominik Hasek, who plays a position where the Sens are in need (with apologies to Wisconsin Badger hero Brian Elliot). But Hasek's stay in Ottawa was not a pleasant one, and his selection was likely to bring up resentment over his time in Canada's capital.
The best skaters to don a Sens uniform (the current franchise only) are either still with the team (Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Chris Phillips) or elsewhere in the league (Mike Fisher, Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Zdeno Chara or Dany Heatley, who would also bring up resentment).
I chose not to select former great Peter Bondra because he played so little in Ottawa, and passed over Pavol Demitra for that reason as well as the potential that he would return to the league.
That all changed hours ago, as the plane carrying his KHL team, Lokamotiv Yaroslavl, crashed. With one other tribute on this list (see later) and the selection of Yashin being unsatisfactory, this was a perfect opportunity to honour another of several former NHL players fallen since last spring.
Despite playing only 59 games over three seasons with Ottawa, scoring 26 points with 10 PIM, he was drafted by them 227th in 1993. He was a four-time All-Star selection, won the Lady Byng Trophy (excellence and gentlemanly play) in 2000 and led the 2010 Olympics in scoring at 35.
Demitra was a great faceoff artist and a good skater, making him an asset on the defensive end of the ice. But he also was a skilled player, scoring 768 points in 847 career NHL games and had three goals in three career All-Star games.