Daniel Alfredsson looked quite comfortable behind the bench at the Canadian Tire Center, where he coached his club’s scrimmage on Day 2 of the Ottawa Senators training camp.
And while the captain of the former Ottawa Senators will not be joining the organization, he does plan to spend more time on the rink. For the record, Team Alfredsson skated to a 5-0 win over Team (Chris) Neil, so it was nice to be rewarded with a win too.
Alfredsson, 49, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, is delighted to be back on the rink. He was the first player in the organization’s modern franchise history to have his number retired, and he is looking forward to reconnecting with the team.
“It was actually a lot of fun. It’s nice to be back on the rink and I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Alfredsson. “I know Neiler is frustrated because I took the pirate move by grabbing the home bench and he wasn’t happy about that. I think it was incorporated into the game.
“I got to know a few guys over the past year. Being around them in this environment brings back a lot of memories, the start of the camp, the start of a new season and it feels like there is a lot of energy with this team going into the new season. There is a lot of optimism, they will have a good camp and then they will get to work.”
Alfredsson noted that he will be more on the rink this season but will not be formally joining the club any time soon.
“I am a guest and will remain so. I’ll be there more than I was, that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s about coming in and talking to the guys if they need it or if they have any questions. I’ll be there for them, how exciting is.
“It’s nice to be a part of it again and it will be like that this year too.”
The club contacted Alfredsson when they decided to name the three teams in the camp after him, Neil and defender Chris Phillips.
“A few guys thought it would be nice if I could come over and coach. I said, ‘Yeah, sure,’ and that’s how it started,” Alfredsson said.
Alfredsson finished his career with 444 goals, 713 assists and 1,157 points in 1,246 NHL games, while also adding 100 points (51–49) in 121 playoff games with Ottawa. His regular season numbers place him 55th among all-time NHL scorers.
The key to Alfredsson’s success was his ability to play on both ends of the ice. His 444 goals rank him 65th in NHL history. He ranks #2 in that category among Swedish players, behind former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin, who has scored 564 goals in 1,264 games.
Alfredsson became the club’s captain in 1999, playing 1,178 games with the Senators before signing with the Detroit Red Wings to conclude his career.
Just driving to the ice rink had a special meaning.
“Like I said, it’s fun to be on the ice rink. There’s no doubt,’ said Alfredsson. “It feels, even though I’ve come back here and there over the years, there are so many memories that come back when you drive up the rink or even walk up the rink.
“You see the same people at the loading dock, the security people and it feels like a deja vu.”
Alfredsson said he has seen the crowds around town over this season.
“There is a different optimism, just among my friends and tennis buddies. You can tell they are excited about the changes to the roster. They hope they will take the step and at the very least be a playoff contender and hopefully get into the playoffs,” said Alfredsson.
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