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A King’s Welcome for Alfie

  • The Sens’ top line of Heatley, Spezza, and Alfredsson will be reunited.
  • Alfredsson receives a hero’s welcome in Gothenburg.
  • Melnyk and Murray prepare to talk extension with Alfredsson’s agent.
  • Erik Karlsson, our 1st round pick in 08, will be a bonus to view in Sweden.
  • Murray is not interested in trying to get Khabibulin off of waivers.

Update: 9:30AM EST

  • Schubert will not play defence this season.

 

  • Whether you call them the pizza line for the pizza their goals can earn you, or the CASH line because Captain Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley love cashing in on the scoreboard, you will be seeing them for a while longer still (Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen).

“It’s the million-dollar question every day, really,” said Hartsburg. “We wanted to try some things through camp. There will be times in the year we will try some things again…you would think that it would work apart and it might if we kept with it. At this time, I think it is best for our team if we keep doing it that way.

“You don’t keep four lines together for 82 games. That line we need to be dominant. They have to be good every night. That’s the responsibility of three top players. Our team needs them guys to be our best players. From there, we’ve got some really good lines after that.”

Sure enough, in the early going, the line will do well. They are all well rested, and they will be going up teams who, like them, have not fully set their plans, lines, or defensive pairings in motion. Later down the stretch though, you might find more problems. The top line figures to get the most attention, seeing as how the top three scorers are on it, and it becomes an easy choice for opposing coaches to assign their checkers and brutal defencemen to cover.

There are further trickle down effects as well. Before, Alfredsson was looking good on a line with Kelly, centered by the team’s undeniable faceoff king, Vermette, and Fisher could hold up the third line, bringing in physical wingers that along with him could complete a third threat-to-score line. Now, we see Fisher and Vermette coupled with Winchester, leaving us down to two real scoring threats, and completely sacrificing the only player who can reliably win faceoffs. No, this isn’t the end of the season, but for now let’s hope it’s just the beginning.

The Frolunda Indians take the expression “a pillar of the community,” pretty literally.

The Swedish club honoured Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson last night during the first intermission of their Elitserien game by dedicating a pillar of the Scandinuvium arena, their home rink, to their native son.

Alfredsson is the first player to be so recognized.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Alfredsson as he looked up at the tribute. “It’s a great honour. Mine was the first one and they’re going to honour some older players who have played here in the past. I didn’t know what it was going to be like, but it looks pretty neat.”

Supposedly making a return fit for a rock star, with media attention that might make even Leafs’ fans wonder what was going on, it definitely makes sense seeing Alfredsson so honoured in his hometown, Sweden’s second largest next to Stockholm. He played for the Frolunda Indians for four seasons, including bringing them the title during the lockout, and he also helped to bring Sweden the Gold in Olympic hockey. Certainly makes you feel great about your Captain, and makes you wonder what it might have been like had Jagr stuck with the Rangers to play in his home country this season.

  • Certainly you can’t let go of a king, and if Murray, Melnyk, and Alfie’s agent J.P. Barry can, they’ll have Alfie signed to an extension as soon as possible, with discussions beginning in the next week (Ottawa Sun as posted earlier by Paul).

Alfredsson revealed yesterday he plans on sticking around for a while after thinking about packing it in just a couple of seasons ago.

When he was asked by a Swedish reporter about playing for Sweden in 2010 yesterday, he replied: “Definitely, I would be interested ... I feel good. I can play a few more years, there’s no question. I still feel that I have the fitness and the physique to do it and I still do love playing. How long, I don’t know.”

Alfredsson’s expiry date has become a topic because his contract expires at the end of this season.

While the $3.8 million annual salary of the three option years remains a nice figure, the 70 points and 70 games played that Alfie needs to hit to control the options doesn’t make one want to sit still. It’s clear how much a pillar of the team and both Gothenburg’s and Ottawa’s communities Alfie is, and I’m sure the last thing Murray and Melnyk want is to wind up as Toronto did with their Swedish captain.

  • Karlsson might not be ready for the NHL yet, and doesn’t need much scouting considering he’s already been drafted, but that doesn’t mean anyone in town yesterday wanted to miss a golden opportunity to see him play (Ottawa Citizen).

they were all in the stands: general manager Bryan Murray, assistant general manager Tim Murray, head coach Craig Hartsburg and assistant coaches Curtis Hunt, Greg Carvel and Eli Wilson.

The object of their attention was Erik Karlsson, the 18-year-old Frolunda defenceman drafted 15th overall by the Senators in June.

Karlsson didn’t disappoint. He scored his first goal as a professional and added an assist in Frolunda’s 4-1 victory, which was a welcome breakthrough for the Indians after four losses and two ties in the first six games.

You always hope for a forward, defenceman, or goalie of the future, and hopes are very high for Karlsson, and certainly a two-point night would not disappoint. It’ll be interesting to see (even as there is no broadcast of) the Frolunda vs. Ottawa game Thursday, and to find out how he might fare against those he hopes to join someday soon.

  • Ian Mendes reports that Sens fans don’t need to get excited (or worried) about Khabibulin being placed on waivers (sportsnet).

“He makes $6.75 million. So whether he’s a top goalie or not doesn’t matter. We couldn’t bring him on,” said Murray.

“The ways the guys have played in camp, Craig (Hartsburg) is very comfortable.”

You’d be hard pressed to convince anyone that the Bulin wall is better than Gerber, and do you really want to look back at his stats to open and close last season, and decide to risk it? Have faith; that’s why you’re called the Sens faithful, isn’t it?

  • In the battle to make the Ottawa Senators’ defence, Schubert is the first big cut, being told he’ll play on the fourth line this season by Hartsburg today (Ottawa Citizen).

The decision so upset Schubert that he slid out of the Scandanavium after the team’s practice without talking to the media.
Hartsburg said he wasn’t surprised that Schubert was upset but said he has to accept his role.
“He came in to prove that he’s a full-time defenceman, so he’s disappointed,” said Hartsburg.
“I understand that. But he’s on our team to play a role and contribute, and I think he understands that.
“This is where he fits best after camp.”

The pairings now stand as Phillips-Volchenkov, Smith-Kuba, and Lee-Picard. I have long been an advocate of going full-out offensive-defensive with pairings, matching one of Phillips, Volchenkov, and Smith up with one of Kuba, Lee, and Picard, so that there’s never too much worry about defensive lapses. Against a one-line team (like Ottawa hopes to not be), keeping Phillips and Volchenkov together makes sense, but against a well-rounded team like Montreal, who will capitalize on every chance they get, you have to be skeptical about pairing two young puckmovers together.

Schubert likely won’t enjoy this move at any point, despite his success as an aggressive checker, and you have to wonder how much this might strain the relationship between him and Hartsburg and Murray. Richardson is a good choice as a 7th defenceman though, given his likelihood to be a part of the coaching staff in the future and his good eyes in the press box, along with the fact that unlike with a youngster like Picard or Lee, Hartsburg won’t feel too bad about leaving Richardson off the roster sheet at game time, as 20+ years in the NHL certainly give you all the experience you need.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | SENShobo | Permalink
 

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About SENShobo

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net