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.