Chris Phillips

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Former NHL agent Stacey McAlpine charged in fraud case

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Former NHL agent Stacey McAlpine has been charged with fraud in a case involving former Ottawa Senators players Dany Heatley and Chris Phillips.

Winnipeg police said Wednesday that the 54-year-old McAlpine bilked Heatley and Phillips out of $12 million between January 2004 and June 2011. McAlpine is charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, two counts of theft over $5,000 and laundering proceeds of crime.

Heatley and Phillips sued McAlpine and McAlpine’s parents, claiming money was being invested in unapproved real estate deals, including an Ottawa condominium. CTV Calgary has reported that Heatley was awarded more than $6 million by an Alberta court.

Chris Phillips, a former first overall draft pick, announces retirement

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Chris Phillips, the first overall draft pick in 1996, has retired after 1,179 NHL games, all of them with the Ottawa Senators.

“Chris’ trademark leadership, determination, hard work, and resilience as a hockey player gave our city and our fans the opportunity to witness an impressive 19 year journey in the National Hockey League,” said Sens owner Eugene Melnyk in a release. “Chris’ commitment to our team and our city places him among one of the greatest players to don a Senators uniform. He will forever hold a special place in the history of our hockey club.”

Phillips, 38, will remain with the Sens in a front-office role.

The 38-year-old defenseman was a pending unrestricted free agent; he didn’t play at all in 2015-16 due to a back injury.

Phillips’ last game was on Feb. 5, 2015.

Phillips not skating a lot, focused on just getting healthy

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Chris Phillips doesn’t want his long career to close out because of an injury, but at the end of the day he might not be able to prevent that.

The Ottawa Senators defenseman, who will turn 38 on March 9, is not giving up, but he also hasn’t made much progress in his recovery from a cracked vertebrae that has sidelined him all season.

“It’s really, really unchanged from (September),” he told the Ottawa Sun. “I haven’t been skating a lot. It’s been frustrating and, right now, I’m at a point where I’ve taken that pressure off of where I’m skating and pushing to get back. Right now, I’m just trying to get healthy and then I’ll go from there.”

No matter what happens, he’s made his mark on the Senators. Phillips is their franchise leader in games played (1,179), surpassing longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson by a single game. That record will stand for quite some time as the closest active player on the Senators is Chris Neil, who has played in 943 career contests with Ottawa and will turn 37 in June. Aside from Phillips and Neil, no current Senator has played in 500 games with the club.

Of course, there will be a time for Phillips to reflect on his lengthy career, but it’s not going to change the fact that his current situation is frustrating for him. Phillips hasn’t lost hope in the idea that his recovery process could improve in a hurry, but as we get deeper and deeper into the season, it seems less likely that he’ll be able to return before his contract expires this summer.

Phillips comeback ‘a longshot,’ says Sens GM

Nobody’s played more games for the Senators than Chris Phillips, the first overall pick in ’97 that’s appeared in 1,179 contests wearing an Ottawa uniform.

But now, it’s starting to sound like he might not play another one.

“Chris is a ways away,” Sens GM Bryan Murray told TSN 1200 on Thursday, per the Ottawa Citizen. “He’s trying really hard. He’s in the gym and doing some skating, but I would say, in my estimation, he’s a longshot to come back.”

Phillips, 37, has been sidelined all year with small crack in a disc in his back, after undergoing surgery to correct the problem at the end of last season.

He’d previously admitted to considering retirement during his recovery from surgery — “It got to the point where it goes beyond hockey and whether you can play again,” he explained — and now, given Murray’s analysis, it’s fair to suggest those thoughts might’ve crossed Phillips’ mind again.

In the last of a two-year, $5 million deal, Phillips will be a UFA at season’s end.

He’ll also be a year older — he turns 38 in March — and there probably won’t be a huge market for 38-year-old defensemen with back issues that haven’t played in nearly a calendar year (Phillips’ last game was on Feb. 5).

 

 

Sens announce Michalek (broken finger) out indefinitely

Another bad injury break (pun possibly intended, depending on your pun appreciation) for Ottawa in last night’s 4-2 loss to the Flyers.

Veteran winger Milan Michalek suffered a broken right index finger and is out indefinitely, the club announced this morning. That puts Michalek on the shelf alongside goalie Andrew Hammond (concussion), forward Clarke MacArthur (concussion) and veteran d-man Chris Phillips (back).

Michalek, 30, was having a decent-yet-unspectacular campaign, with five goals and eight points through 24 games. That said, his TOI per game was up from last year (16:22 to 16:50).

The veteran Czech was on a line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Alex Chiasson last night, so it’ll be interesting to see what Sens head coach Dave Cameron does in the wake of the broken finger.

Interesting, because Cameron could also be minus the services of another forward — Mika Zibanejad, who was hurt on a Radko Gudas hit last night.