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Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup 80 years ago by beating Boston Bruins

That was the first spring that the Stanley Cup was the sole property of the NHL, and after Ottawa won it each player was given as a reward an 18-carat gold ring with 14 small diamonds in the shape of an O.

The modern-day Senators will try to return the title to Canada's capital for the first time in 80 years beginning Monday night when the championship series against the Anaheim Ducks begins in California.

While the NHL only returned to Ottawa 15 years ago, big-league hockey in the city goes back more than a century and it is a rich history.

Ottawa teams playing in various leagues won the Stanley Cup in 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1909 and 1911, and the Ottawa Senators were one of four original members of the NHL when it was formed in 1917. They won the championship in 1920, 1921 and 1923.

For the 1926-27 season, the league was comprised of 10 teams with 12-man rosters playing 44-game schedules. The original Senators, coached by Dave Gill, won the Canadian Division and the Boston Bruins won the American Division.

The setup that year for the championship series was that the team with the most wins after four games would get the Stanley Cup, and Ottawa won two while two others ended in ties.

The series began in Boston on April 7, 1927, and the teams battled to a 0-0 tie. Ottawa won 3-1 in Boston two days later.

The Senators were referred to in Canadian Press stories as "the poke-checkingest bunch in the history of hockey."

The series moved to Ottawa for a third game and the teams tied 1-1. When the Senators won 3-1 on April 13, they were handed the Stanley Cup.

Seven future Hockey Hall of Famers were in Ottawa's lineup - Cy Denneny, Frank (The Pembroke Peach) Nighbor, Jack Adams and Hooley Smith up front, King Clancy and George (Buck) Boucher on defence and Alex (The Ottawa Fireman) Connell in goal.

The other skaters were Frank (The Shawville Express) Finnigan, Alex (Boots) Smith, Milt Halliday, Ed Gorman and Hec (Hurricane) Kilrea.

Denneny scored four of Ottawa seven goals against the Bruins. The five-foot-seven left-winger was one of the first players to experiment with a curved stick. He'd later coach the team.

Finnigan scored two goals and Clancy one. Connell allowed only three goals to a Boston club that included Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper and goalie Tiny Thompson.

Things got rough at the end.

Billy Coutu of the Bruins, incensed that Hooley Smith butt-ended Harry Oliver in the face, charged into referee Jerry LaFlamme in a corridor after the game and was suspended for life. He was reinstated five years later but never resumed his career.

The financial health of the Ottawa franchise quickly declined. It withdrew from the 1931-32 season, transferred to St. Louis in 1934 and folded a year later.

Ottawa was awarded an expansion franchise and the NHL returned in 1992. The team retired Finnegan's No. 8 and the street in front of the main entrance to Scotiabank Place was named Frank Finnigan Way in his honour. Finnigan died in 1991 at age 87 less than a year before the new Senators played their first game. He was born in Shawville Que., which is also the hometown of current Senators coach Bryan Murray.

The modern-day Senators missed the playoffs in each of their first four seasons. Their most successful playoff run before this spring was in 2003, when they lost a seven-game conference final to the eventual champions, the New Jersey Devils.


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