Chris Phillips announced his retirement yesterday after 17 seasons. Unable to suit up for a single game this year due to a cracked vertebrae, the longest-serving Senator decided to hang up his skates and call it a career. With 1179 games played, Phillips is one game up on longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson (1178) for the franchise lead, and is by far the Sens most used defenseman.
Through his almost 1200 game career, Phillips averaged 20:42 of ice-time per game. Over the last eight years of his career (when hits and blocks started being recorded) he averaged 115 blocks per season, which would put him well inside the top 70 players in shot blocking. While that doesn’t sound very impressive, it wasn’t his high upside that kept him logging important minutes for Ottawa, it was his grit, determination and consistency.
Phillips Calm Under Pressure
Phillips gave his coaches over the years a security blanket of sorts. In his first ten years in the league he was only a minus player once, in his sophomore season of 1999-2000, when he finished a -5. Over his 17 seasons he only finished as a minus player five times, three of those coming in his last five seasons in the league.
During Ottawa’s Stanley Cup run in 2007 Phillips averaged more than 23 minutes a game, helping push the Sens to their first cup final since coming back to the league in 1992. That season he finished eighth in the league in plus/minus notching a +36 on the year.
Phillips consistency is even more clear when looking at his possession metrics. From 2007-2015 Phillips Corsi For % (CF%) averaged out to 49.5, which would put him inside the top 150 defenseman for CF% this season. Even more impressive, over that same time period, Phillips displayed an uncanny ability to keep the puck when his team needed all the chances they could get.
In even strength situations with his team down a goal Phillips averaged a CF% of 55.5, well above his overall average. When the Sens trailed by two, he got even better, posting a 57.6 CF%. This is the kind of play a team needs from its secondary defenseman, strong and steady in their own zone, driving comebacks with good possession play and not allowing the deficit to expand.
Phillips was clearly respected around the league with countless players and pundits wishing him the best in retirement. Darcy Tucker used a little humour to congratulate Phillips on his hard-nosed career.
Happy retirement Chris I enjoyed every minute… pic.twitter.com/TYMnYGhWLr
— Darcy Tucker (@16DarcyTucker) May 26, 2016
A proper send off to the only number 4 Sens fans need to remember.
A young writer, called an old soul by some, a curmudgeon by others. I love most sports, and hate past times masquerading as them (I’m looking at you darts!)