Over the 19 previous years of our existence there have been many exciting moments and many memorable victories, which makes it all the more weird that the game that’s most memorable to me is one we lost 5-2.
It was March 5, 2004 in Philadelphia and what should have otherwise been a very forgettable game in a long season. Like most games I was watching it and about to turn it off when all hell broke loose.
I knew earlier in the game there was a chance of something minor happening because of a previous Martin Havlat/Mark Recchi confrontation, but didn’t expect much. With 1:45 left in the 3rd, who knew NHL history was about to be made?
It started out innocent enough with resident tough guys Rob Ray and Donald Brashear getting into a scrap, but what happened next was incredible. The rest of the players on the ice at the time began to fight and even goalies Patrick Lalime and Robert Esche decided to throw mitts.
When the dust cleared the puck was dropped at centre ice to resume the game and instantly all 10 players were fighting just a few seconds later. I had never seen anything like it before in my hockey watching life. After that 10-on-10 brawl was stopped, the puck was dropped again to restart the game and once again fights broke. Even complete non-fighters like Jason Spezza were getting into the action. I kept waiting for it to end but it just kept going and going.
By the time it was all said and done the Sens and Flyers had set a new record for penalty minutes in an NHL game with 419 and both benches were virtually empty due to all the ejections. It was quite the display of toughness, especially from the Senators, who many had labeled talented but soft.
The Senators may have lost the game but they won something more important that night: Respect. My lasting memory of that game is the player who caused it all, Martin Havlat, sitting comfortably in the penalty box the whole time, not a scratch on him.
It’s a game most Sens fans and I will never be able to forget.