by SENShobo on 09/29/08 at 09:28 AM ET
The Sens are in Sweden getting ready to start the season, and the team is ready to start finding chemistry with their manageable roster and forced together in the middle of a foreign land.
A few hours ago, the Sens landed in Europe, and by the time you read this they will have held their first practice, in all its sure-to-be-jetlagged glory (OS, OC). Playing a couple of regular season games will no doubt be motivation enough for the team to get over their jetlag, and to be fully prepared to face a Penguins squad that lasted one game longer in the Finals than Ottawa did the year before, minus a few players, of course.
Chris Stevenson paints a nice picture of Gothenburg, where the Sens’ journey begins, in his story, a city with some similarities to Ottawa, not the least of which is the comparison that can be drawn between how Ottawa feels about Toronto, and how Gothenburg feels about Stockholm.
“It is blue collar,” he said not without a hint of pride. “The people are very friendly. They like to make jokes. It is a blue-collar town. It’s a port town.
“Being able to go there with Ottawa, in my hometown…it will be emotional. I have a lot memories. I went to high school right across from the rink. I practised there a lot and skate there in the summers, usually.”
No doubt that this game should rank up on Alfie’s list of great moments, alongside treasured ones such as his first NHL game, helping Sweden to win Olympic hockey gold, the lockout year when he led the Frolunda Indians to the Swedish title, and the games he played in the Stanley Cup Final. Now if only there was some way that we could watch the exhibition game against the Frolunda Indians.
Neil will no doubt find this to be an extrordinary adventure, seeing as it is his first trip to Europe (OS). There will be many opportunities to see new things, and to see what Alfie’s been talking about all these years.
“It’s a great opportunity to see the world,” said an enthused Neil, who knows about Sweden only what teammate Daniel Alfredsson has told him. “From listening to Alfie, it’s God’s Country over there.”
“He’s the mayor of Ottawa,” said Neil. “I can’t wait to see how they treat him over there.”
Now that the team has been pared down to 24 players, and with time before Thursday’s game, the Senators should get a good chance to work on their new game, and on finding and solidifying new chemistries with all the new faces on the team. There will be no more games like Friday’s loss to the Habs, where you play without many of your best players or against a team filled with rookies, and it’s high time the team starts to buckle down for the long season ahead.
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