Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

All about Daniel Alfredsson’s return to Ottawa and Sunday’s Red Wings-Senators game

I've been dreading this weekend for a while, and I'm seriously considering canceling moderate-to-major plans because of what I'm going to be doing this weekend. I get the feeling that I'm going to be waking up on Monday exhausted and hungover. And I'm a blogger who's allergic to alcohol, not a post-Thanksgiving partier.

Today and tomorrow, members of the U.S. and Canadian media corps alike will descend upon Ottawa, as will some Swedes, following Red Bird III's contrails and the path of a Red Wings team that defeated the New York Islanders 5-0 on Friday evening, all ahead of what's already shaping up to be a dramatic reunion between Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday (5:30 PM EST, FSD Plus/TSN/AM 1270).

I figure that the next two days will rack up 20-24 hours of work time, and that's "not trying to cover everything."

As a Wings fan, I feel a little differently about this game given that the Senators have defeated Detroit 6-1 on October 23rd and 4-2 a week ago today, with the latest loss including an unpenalized and un-suspension-worthy elbow from Jared Cowen which still has Pavel Datsyuk on the shelf with a concussion that's not being called a concussion (not likely to aid Datsyuk's status as the "Most Intriguing HBO 24/7 Character").

I don't give a flying *#$%@& about the fact that this game represents the first time Alfredsson will skate against a team that he divorced himself from this past summer in a Sergei Fedorov-to-Anaheim-style mess of "he said, he said and then the other guy said" bitterness.

I don't give a flying *#$%@& about the Sens' promised video tribute to Alfredsson, I don't care whether he's booed, I don't care what TSN, ESPN, NHL.com, the Globe and Mail, Hockey Night in Canada, Expressen, Aftonbladet, SVT or anyone else thinks as to whether the 13-7-and-7 Wings or the 10-12-and-4 Senators are "better off" with or without Alfredsson, or whether they think his presence or absence will determine who wins in April given that we're talking about a game being played on December 1st.

I want my team to finally earn a victory against what I've come to believe is a team reminiscent of Bobby Ryan's previous employer, the Anaheim Ducks--very solid, very deep both up front and on defense, goaltending issues included, very, very physical, supremely talented in the scoring department and bloody immature.

The Senators have sat since Thursday's 5-2 home loss to Vancouver, and they've lost 2 of 3 since defeating the Wings this past weekend (they . They will resume practicing today and the Wings will also skate at the Bell Sensplex. Paul MacLean was pissed off about his team's performance against Vancouver while speaking to the Canadian Press...

Clarke MacArthur and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Senators (10-12-4). Craig Anderson allowed four goals on 15 shots before being replaced by Robin Lehner, who allowed one goal on 13 shots.

With the loss the Senators, who beat the Washington Capitals 6-4 on Wednesday, are now 0-4-1 when playing back-to-back nights.

Senators coach Paul MacLean said his team deserved the loss.

"We got what we earned," said MacLean. "(Wednesday) night we got what we earned and 26 times a year so far we've gotten what we've earned whether that was wins or losses. Every night we've earned it and (Thursday) we earned it again."

MacLean added the Sens continue to make too many mistakes.

"We don't play hard enough on the forecheck. We don't play hard enough coming back. We don't play hard enough defensively. Our goaltenders aren't playing hard enough. We're just not playing hard enough for long enough to have an opportunity to win."

And NHL.com's Sean Farrell, who noted that the Senators were talking about being more physical after their loss...

Ottawa's Clarke MacArthur scored his 100th NHL goal at 8:50 of the first period. Mika Zibanejad scored at 18:58 of the second to draw the Senators within 4-2.

"We come out, and I thought we did a good job in the first, and they had a couple of chances, and in the second they get one, and they get two, they get three ... it's one of those things where we've got to be better in that prime shooting area," MacArthur said. "We've got to make guys pay the price to go in there."

Anderson stopped 11 of 15 shots before he was pulled at 9:40 of the second. He was replaced at the first stoppage in play after Weise's goal by Lehner, who made 12 saves.

"There are 18 other guys that are out there playing," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "They're giving up lots of things too. By the time it gets to him, there's a lot of things going on, so it's way too easy just to stand there and say that it's the goalie's fault, because it's not. It's everybody's fault. Everybody is to blame and we have to find a way together to fix it."

It was the first of two meetings between the two Canadian teams this year. The Canucks will host Ottawa on March 2 at BC Place in the Tim Hortons 2014 Heritage Classic.

The Senators overcame a two-goal deficit for a 6-4 win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday to return from a 2-1-0 road trip. They welcome the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday in former captain Daniel Alfredsson's first game back in Ottawa.

And I expect the Senators to continue the "be physical" line and MacLean to preach accountability today.

The pressure is on the Senators to win, period, and as I said in the Wings-Isles wrap-up, the same is true for Detroit:

Sunday's game marks the first of four this week--the Wings will also host the Flyers on Wednesday the 4th, travel to New Jersey on Friday the 6th and wrap up the week with a home game against Florida on Saturday the 7th--and the Wings will be playing 11 of their 13 December-scheduled games over the first 21 days of the month, all with HBO's 24/7 cameras in tow.

 

 

 

The Senators' press already cranked up the spotlight on Friday. Bruce Garrioch spoke with Alfredsson about the fact that he's bringing his family to the 'reunion" thanks to American Thanksgiving yielding a long weekend for his wife and four sons...

"I have a feeling (the reception) will be (good)," said Alfredsson. "You don't know and I don't know even I felt (it would be good) I would say it anyway. You don't want to ...The fans are going to react the way they feel is appropriate. That's what they always do if they cheer during a game or if they're not happy they're going to boo at times. If you're playing well, they'll be cheering you on. That's their right."

The Senators miss Alfredsson. He not only left a void on the ice when he signed with the Wings, he left a big hole in the dressing room. The leadership he showed through his actions and words as he proudly wore the 'C' are missed. The club's early struggles have been blamed in part on his presence being missed by those left to carry the torch.

"There is a transition," said Alfredsson. "All in all it's a really competitive league and they had a really tough start with the way they started on the road as well. I realize now when you're in Canada that everything gets analyzed and magnified a little bit more. That's what's happening now. I think they're a good team and I think they'll be competing with the rest of us."

Life for Alfredsson in Detroit isn't a lot different. He drives the boys to school in the suburb of Birmingham where he lives, he takes them to see their friends and, of course, there's hockey practice as well. He misses a lot of aspects of the lifestyle he had in Ottawa. Most of all he just misses his many acquaintances.

"The biggest thing is the people and the friends I got to know through the time I was there. That's what I miss the most," said Alfredsson.

Fortunately, for Alfredsson this won't be a quick in and out for the Wings. He suited up for his 1200th game Friday against the Islanders in Uniondale and then flew to Ottawa immediately after the game. The Wings are on the ice Saturday at the building and that should help Alfredsson.

"It works out great that way," said Alfredsson. "It's a practice day before the game. There won't be a morning skate because it's a 5 p.m. game. The media will be done the day before. There's going to be a lot of emotions going through my head. Deal with that the day before and I think it will be easier to focus on the game on Sunday."

The Ottawa Sun's Tim Baines spoke to Alfredsson's brother Henric about Daniel's decision to leave for the Wings...

"We were in Detroit (Oct. 12) for a game watching Dan," said Henric, a 34-year-old former Ottawa 67. "Ottawa was on the west coast, playing San Jose, and the game was on the scoreboard and I said, 'Oh, we have to go home and watch Dan play tonight (on TV). But then it was, 'Oh yeah, he's playing for Detroit, not Ottawa,' It's still weird."

On July 5, Alfie's younger brother was on the golf course, at Loch March, when the news came down.

"I knew the day before that he was leaving, but I think it hit me then," he said. "Then it was, 'Oh, my God, this is happening.' People were shocked. Everybody took for granted he'd be back. I never saw him being anywhere else but in Ottawa.

"When he first announced he would play this season, there was no question in my mind he was coming back to play in Ottawa. That was where his mindset was and that was mine, too. Then he called me and said he had spoken to (Red Wings GM) Ken Holland. Still, at that point, I was thinking he would come back to Ottawa. It happened pretty quick. He called me right after he talked to (Senators GM) Bryan (Murray). He said maybe change would be good."

The CBC Ottawa's Jamie Baines weighed in on Alfredsson's "legacy"...

On Sunday at about 5:30 p.m. ET, Alfredsson will step on an ice surface he owned for many seasons, in front of a fan base that thought he could do no wrong for so long.

Hockey life in Ottawa has changed and even the arena’s name is different.

How fans will react, nobody quite knows, but it would be worth the fans' time to spend more effort cheering than booing. That should also include a lengthy standing ovation.

The Senators' decision on a tribute is also an interesting move. They have not revealed much besides the fact it will take place before puck drop.

Reports say Alfredsson, who spent 17 seasons with the Sens, will also bring his family back to their long-time home. It would be nice to see them on the ice, too.

There are few players who stick with a franchise for so long, especially without winning a Stanley Cup. Ray Bourque is the best example and he didn't win a cup until he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. Boston Bruins fans adore Bourque just as much as Bobby Orr and Cam Neely.

Fans here love Alfie still, which is clear in listening to the general consensus in previous news stories. There are also too many unknowns in this divorce for Sens fans to come down on a man who was previously put on a pedestal.

And TSN's Ian Mendes reminded all of us that Alfredsson is "no angel" by listing 5 moments in which Alfredsson was less than gentlemanly, including his most famous transgression:

1. The hit on Darcy Tucker: With the score tied 2-2 and time running out in Game 5 of the 2002 playoff series between the Sens and Maple Leafs, Alfredsson delivered a controversial hit on Darcy Tucker.  To add salt to the wound, while Tucker was writhing on the ice in pain, Alfredsson went to the front of the net and scored the eventual game-winning goal past Curtis Joseph.  The Leafs bench was irate that no penalty was called on the play and the crowd at the Air Canada Centre chanted obscenities towards the officials.

The hit on Tucker made Alfredsson public enemy No. 1 in Toronto and was the catalyst for why he started getting booed every time he touched the puck in a game involving the Leafs and Senators.

Will the hit on Darcy Tucker make Alfredsson's video montage on Sunday at Canadian Tire Centre? If it does, you can bet that portion of the video will receive a loud ovation from the Ottawa crowd.

 

 

 


This morning, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun lets us know that he's going to be attending the game via this assessment of #11's performance in the Wings' win over the Islanders...

RED WINGS 5, ISLANDERS 0: Was this Alfie getting warmed up for the big one?

Veteran winger Daniel Alfredsson scored twice and added an assist in Detroit's whitewash Friday of the Islanders. His next game, of course, is Sunday in Ottawa -- his first game back in Canada's capital after his controversial exit last summer. (I'll be there to chronicle things.)

The Wings have won three straight and outscored the opposition (Buffalo, Boston and the Isles) 14-2 during that span, getting back on track after a difficult November.

But perhaps the real story here is the continued malaise of the Isles, who have dropped five straight and are 2-10-0 in their past dozen games. Something's got to give on Long Island. Sources from other teams suggest GM Garth Snow has been phoning around trying to find a match on the trade front. This is a team that needs upgrades on defense and in goal.

The Toronto Star's Damien Cox seems to be reveling in the potential for drama already:

It’s not an ideal way to juice the gate. But with their attendance at the lowest it’s been for more than a decade after 13 home starts, the Ottawa Senators are undoubtedly hoping the return of Daniel Alfredsson in a Detroit Red Wings uniform to the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon will at least give Ottawa hockey fans a reason to start showing up in greater numbers.

Owner Eugene Melnyk has said the team will deliver a pre-game video tribute to its former captain somewhere between the national anthems and puck drop.

“Hopefully, everyone gets to their seats early and watches,” Melnyk said in an Ottawa radio interview this week. “We now have a new captain, new team and all we can do is wish Daniel the best. We’re going to give him his due recognition.”

Alfredsson will return to see his former club struggling both on the ice and, curiously enough, at the gate in his absence. With Melnyk already claiming annual losses of $10 million, Senators attendance has fallen this year to an average of 17,500 per game from 19,408 a season ago.

....

While the Senators have beaten Detroit twice in two tries this season — Alfredsson wasn’t in uniform for the second defeat — this is hardly the state in which the Ottawa squad wanted to find itself this weekend.

The response to the 40-year-old Alfredsson might be interesting, particularly as he made it clear he was joining Detroit as a free agent because he believed the Wings had a better chance at the Stanley Cup this season than Ottawa. That, of course, came after his infamous “probably not” comment last spring in the post-season when asked if the Senators had any chance of fighting back from a playoff deficit. Hardly helpful in a town where votes of non-confidence are anything but ignored.

Still, it would be a shocker if he received a negative response on Sunday. People have a way of forgiving and forgetting the perceived transgressions of their heroes, as witnessed earlier this season when Pavel Bure returned to Vancouver to have his No. 10 retired.

Alfredsson has only four goals in 21 games for the Wings. But Detroit sits higher in the league standings than does Ottawa, as does Anaheim, the team that peddled Bobby Ryan east in the wake of Alfredsson’s departure to give the Sens a new scoring star.

In terms of the Ottawa media's Saturday newspaper stories, the Ottawa Citizen's Allen Panzeri framed Alfredsson's return in light of the Senators' erratic record...

Captain Jason Spezza expects that Alfredsson will be greeted warmly by Ottawa fans, no matter how upset they might remain over his decision to leave town for the Red Wings. However, once the applause for Alfredsson dies down, Spezza hopes “(the fans) are on our side.”

But you never know. Plus, the Red Wings figure to be a doubly motivated team. They’ve already lost to the Senators twice and will want to start evening the score. They’ll also want to have Alfredsson’s back.

In the Senators’ favour is that they’ve played well in both games against the Red Wings, both emotional games they needed to win. In the first, on Oct. 23, they were coming off a miserable 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Senators responded by ruining Alfredsson’s night with a 6-1 win. In the second, on Nov. 23, without Alfredsson in the lineup, the Senators won 4-2 to end a three-game losing streak.

Whether they can respond in the same way on Sunday is the question.

“I think we played well in those games, but we’ll see what happens,” said Spezza. “We’ve beat them twice so far, so I’m sure they’re going to want to have a good game. And they’ll be extra motivated trying to help (Alfredsson) out, so we’ll have to be make sure we’re ready to go — and we need a bounce-back game.”

...

A video salute to Alfredsson is planned before the opening faceoff, and the team is asking fans to be in their seats promptly for the 5:30 p.m. start.

“There shouldn’t be a question,” said Kyle Turris, who has often spoken about the influence Alfredsson has had on him. "He’s still the guy here, and he should be. What he’s done not just for this organization and hockey, but for the community and the city of Ottawa is unparalleled. It’s unbelievable. So he should be welcomed back with open arms, and he should get the respect and love that he got when he was here.”

The Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan suggests that there should be no boos for Alfie, though I have to admit that I'm doubting that we'll see or hear anything less than significant spates of when-he-touches-the-puck-they-boo eruptions...

Alfredsson himself is not sure, except in his heart. Last Saturday, when the Senators were in Detroit, Alfie told a small group of Ottawa reporters his return to Ottawa has “been on my mind” for some time. He has “a feeling” the response will be positive.

“But you don’t know,” Alfredsson said. “And even if I felt that, I don’t know if I would say it anyway. It’s so hard, I don’t know. I think it will be good. It’s a situation where, I was there for so long, but then at the same time I now play for another team. There’s a conflict, there’s no question. How that will play out, I don’t know.”

The class of Senators fans will shine through, even those who were heartbroken when Alfredsson, 40, declared he was seeking a new hockey experience in the twilight of his career — and possibly a chance to win a Stanley Cup, with Detroit.

These days, neither the Senators nor Red Wings look like championship material, but Alfredsson’s departure would not have happened had the organization been willing to extend his contract before he entered his final season. No deal was reached, in the summers of 2012 or 2013, so No. 11 packed up his wife and four boys and left for the Motor City, exercising his right as a free agent by signing a one-year deal. Five months later, everyone — from Ottawa franchise owner Eugene Melnyk to the most casual of fan — seems to be in a better place about the transaction.

“I don’t know if there’s such thing as a good breakup,” [Chris] Phillips says, “but everything that went on was frustrating for everyone involved. And now’s an opportunity to put all that stuff behind, and for him to be rewarded with thankfulness for all he’s done.”

As though scripted, the weekend plays out perfectly for Alfredsson. With school out for Thanksgiving, Bibi and the boys — Hugo, Loui, Fenix and William — have had time for a proper visit with family and friends in Ottawa. The Red Wings were scheduled to arrive Friday evening. They will skate here Saturday, enabling Alfredsson to get the media blitz over and done. Owing to the 5:30 game start, there will be no morning skate Sunday.

“There’s going to be a lot of emotions going through my head,” he says. “So, deal with that the day before and I think it will be easier to focus on the game on Sunday.”

The Citizen's Ken Warren offers "11 Takes: An Alfredsson Retrospective," and they include the following:

10. THE TRUTH HURTS: Alfredsson is principled, to a fault. He believed owner Eugene Melnyk reneged on a deal to reward him for playing below his market value in 2012-13. Hence his stubbornness to not accept anything less last summer, leading to his departure to Detroit. His honesty was on full display following Game 4 against Pittsburgh last spring. When asked if the Senators could win three straight to knock off the Penguins, he said “probably not,” raising countless eyebrows. He was speaking from the heart, but if he had a chance to take a mulligan, he might have used it.

11. MENTAL MUSCLE: Alfredsson used his hockey celebrity to reach a much wider audience here. His community involvement included the ‘Do You Know Who I Am?’ Campaign with Ottawa’s Royal Hospital. His goal was to erase the stigma of mental illness, opening up about his sister’s battle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the hopes that people would seek help when necessary and recognize that the population needs more education on mental health issues. In the big picture, that made a bigger statement that any goal he ever scored.

Heading back to the Ottawa Sun, it wouldn't be a newspaper if the Sun didn't offer a "debate" as to whether "The Senators are better without Alfredsson," and Don Brennan, their version of Evil Drew Sharp, both offers the, "Yes, they're better without him" argument, stating that the Senators wouldn't have been able to sign Clarke MacArthur OR add Bobby Ryan had Alfredsson remained with the team...

And on paper, a quarter of the way through the season, it appears [Senators GM Bryan] Murray made a sound choice. After his initial struggles finding mesh, [Clarke] MacArthur had six goals, 11 assists and a team-best plus-10 rating in 23 games.

The 40-year-old Alfredsson has produced — when he’s been able to play. In between training camp and mid-November groin issues, he scored four goals, 12 assists and was a plus-2 in 20 games.

As they stand, the cap hits are similar too (Alfredsson’s is $3.5 million, MacArthur’s $3.25) but to meet Alfredsson’s demands would have cost the Senators much more. Meanwhile, they have MacArthur at the same reasonable rate for another season after this one, while the 2013-14 campaign could be Alfredsson’s swan song, especially if his health problems persist.

You also have to wonder if the Senators would have continued to pursue a trade for Bobby Ryan had they given in to Alfredsson, who wanted to be compensated for playing last season for $1 million. Murray told Alfredsson he was attempting to acquire Ryan when he was trying to convince the Swede to stay for what he wanted to pay him. Given owner Eugene Melnyk’s tight budget, it’s hard to imagine Murray could have spent more than $12 million in combined salaries for Alfredsson and Ryan – without unloading another player or two.

To simplify matters, if the Senators summertime shuffling boiled down to moving Alfredsson and Jakob Silfverberg for MacArthur and Ryan, Murray significantly improved the team for this season, anyway. The pendulum could swing in the future if Stefan Noesen and the first round pick sent to Anaheim for Ryan turn out to be stars, but as of now they’re still unknowns.

Struggling to find consistency these days, the Senators certainly miss Alfredsson, who played the game the right way every night and carved a niche for himself as a clutch performer. But leadership is not a problem — they still have enough in the likes of Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips, Chris Neil and Marc Methot.

And Brennan also draws our attention to the other story of the day in something of a goaltending controversy as Craig Andersson's struggled and back-up Robin Lehner's been the more solid netminder--noting that Andersson has been Jimmy Howard-like in terms of venturing far out of his net attempting to do his defensemen's jobs, yielding what Brennan suggests was a "ridiculing" by the Canucks' players:

"I'm not sure what Anderson was doing there," Dale Weise said, chuckling, when asked about his goal that gave the Canucks a 4-1 lead over the Senators. "I don't know if he was like, trying to get out of the way, or trying to draw a penalty or what. But I'll take it."

The reason Anderson completely gave up on the puck Weise swiped into the open side is because it stung his knee only a second earlier on a Jason Garrison wrist shot from the point. Either Weise had no idea, or he also thinks Alex Kovalev should have kept playing through that slash from Travis Green in double OT nine years ago.

Anyway, Anderson courageously forged ahead for another minute or so, until teammate Marc Methot brushed him on the next Vancouver rush. That time he looked like he had a serious head/neck injury.

"I don't think that's the reason I came out," said Anderson, who was fully recovered by the time he zipped by Robin Lehner on the way to the bench. "I think the reason was it wasn't good enough on my part, and it wasn't good enough as a whole there, as a team."

Paul MacLean clarified there were no injury concerns.

"No," said MacLean. "I pulled him because it was four goals."

On 15 shots, he neglected to add. As Lehner skated in to replace Anderson, someone on press row mumbled that we were witnessing the official changing of the guard -- the torch was formally being passed, big picture as well as small.

That's unlikely, but it's also abundantly clear the move should be made on a temporary basis, at least. The "No. 1" guy has not played nearly as well as the "backup" all season, but Anderson is really struggling of late. In his last four games, he has allowed 16 goals and has a save percentage of .831. He looks a lot different than last year. He looks out of sync.

Heading back to the main thrust of our narrative, the Ottawa Sun's Garrioch notes that two games have worked out the ill will between the Sens and Alfredsson, at least on a player-versus-player basis...

"Everyone has moved on. It's a chance to applaud him," said [Chris] Phillips late Thursday. "It will be special for him to come back. I don't know if there's ever such a thing as a good breakup. Everything that went on was frustrating for everyone involved. Now is the opportunity to put all that stuff behind and for him to be rewarded with a thankfulness for what he's done."

Phillips said the summer is water under the bridge.

"With any story, it's a huge deal when it's going on. There's people on all sides not happy," said Phillips.

Phillips said Alfredsson is the least of the club's worries.

"It's a huge deal for him coming back here but we need to focus on our team and our game," said Phillips. "We need points as the season creeps on and it gets tougher and tougher to get those points."

And the Ottawa Sun's Chris Hofley spoke with the Wings' press about Alfredsson's profile and behaviors as a Red Wing, asking MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James to weigh in:

"He has a very Nik Lidstrom-like presence in the locker room," she said, comparing Alfredsson to the long-time Wings captain and fellow Swede.

"He's very low maintenance," St. James said, adding he's always willing to talk to reporters and "hangs up all his own gear" in the room. "I think he likes the decision (to sign with the Wings)."

Both Khan and St. James agree it has been good for Alfredsson to play in a market where he's not looked at as a god.

"That's the key, they're only relying on him for secondary scoring support," said Khan.

And then there's the Swedish factor, which has always worked well for the Wings. St. James said the news of Alfie joining the Wings wasn't nearly as big in Detroit as the news of him leaving the Senators was in Ottawa.

"The sadness in Ottawa, the emotions were so incredible high," she said. But most Wings fans "liked the signing," she said.

As they both point out, the Red Wings are at least familiar with this whole, "Franchise player leaves to join Red Wings, Wings have to play through the 'homecoming" spiel:

"They've kind of gone through it before with so many of the big names that have come here in the past," said Khan. "They've been through it before where a teammate's going back for a homecoming."

Alfredsson did speak with the media in English after Friday's game, and the Wings' website posted a clip of Alfredsson addressing his 2-goal performance and impending reunion with the Senators...

In Swedish, he spoke with Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom about Friday's tilt (what follows is roughly translated)...

On Saturday morning Swedish time, he scored two goals and added an assist as the Wings defeated the Islanders 5-0.

"To sum up the good result, it's not often you get a pass through the neutral zone like I got today. I just had to whisk it in," he tells SportExpressen.se.

Alfredsson was talking about his 3-0 goal, which happened 12 seconds into the 3rd period. Brendan Smith gave him a pass straight through the neutral zone, which Alfredsson picked up behind two opponents at the offensive blueline, and then he was wide open.

"I pretended to aim low on the stick side and then shot high on the glove side. Nice to see it go in," he says.

That means Alfredsson's registered 5 points--3 goals and 2 assists--in his last 2 games.

He had a goal and an assist as the Wings out-classed Boston earlier in the week, winning 6-1.

After a great void in the team's record, Detroit is a winning team again. They've won 11-1 over the last two games against Boston and the New York islanders.

On Friday, the line of Alfredsson, Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader was the hottest one. Both Alfie and Helm scored 2 goals.

"We take great advantage of Helm's speed, which creates many opportunities. And Abdelkader's going full-speed all the time, too. They're fun guys to play with, and it all happens at the highest speed and I like that," says Alfie.

He's now registered 19 points, 6 goals and 13 assists, in 22 games for Detroit.

"It takes a while to get into the game when coming to a new team, but now it feels really good and very stable. Moreover, my groin injury's healed, so I can play full-out."

And he briefly touched upon Sunday's affair in speaking with Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman:

The legend's not nervous one day before his Ottawa visit: "No, it'll just be lots of fun.

Reporting from Los Angeles.

Warning for Ottawa. Daniel Alfredsson's in great shape for his return. He scored 2 goals and played superbly in the night's "dress rehearsal" against the New York Islanders.

"And I think it feels like I've got a couple more goals in the stick," he says with an easy laugh as he speaks with Sportbladet after the 5-0 victory.

Tomorrow it's time for the season's big event in Ottawa. Daniel Alfredsson--the Canadian capital's greatest icon--returns home for the first time since last summer, when he left the Senators and signed with the Detroit Red Wings.

And as I said, it's an "Alfie" running on all cylinders that's making a comeback to the city he ruled for eighteen years. He scored 2 goals and set up another when the Wings ran over the New York Islanders on Long Island, 5-0 last night.

"Yes, it felt good tonight. I think the whole team was responsible for a really great effort," he says when we reach him after the final whistle. "It was fun to score goals, too, but I think it feels like I have a couple more goals in the club. I saved a little bit, ha ha."

Even the youngster Gustav Nyquist scored a goal, and Niklas Kronwall added two assists--and Jonathan Ericsson and Johan Franzen scored.

Directly after the game, the Wings flew on to Ottawa--with an expectant Daniel Alfredsson in a seat in front [of the plane].

"Nervous? No, right now I just feel like it'll be great to come back," he says.

Alfredsson's probably going to enjoy his return to Canada's capital given that he's had some time to settle in his new NHL home--a home that Wings fans like me hope he will call his own for more than one season. But I get the feeling that Alfredsson's going to be very happy to return to a locker room where a "scrum" is eight digital voice recorders and iPhones in your face instead of twenty reporters, 5 cameras and a couple hockey stick-held mics held from afar.

In Detroit, sometimes Alfredsson can just hang up his own gear and walk out of the room, having received no requests for his time. It'll be very different in Ottawa, especially with the reunion angle being played up for all it's worth this weekend, and I can only hope that Alfredsson comes back to a saner, if slightly smaller-scale hockey home with a win under his belt.

 

Update: SVT's Marie Lehmann's served notice that she's come all the way over from Sweden to cover Sunday's game.

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Comments

RW19's avatar

I am going to the game tomorrow with the wife and kids and three of us bleed the right red (my wife persists in liking the Sens even after 17 years of enlightenment & knowledge sharing on my part).

I can tell you that the rink will be at least 25% Wings fans, it always is ... sometimes its more depending on how many people come to see Howard play ... or ride the bench or how many other Northern New Yorkers or Toronto NHLers are on the squad.

I think Alfredsson will get a huge ovation. Most locals and most of the media understand that the owner somehow screwed this up or was happy to not have to pay both Ryan and Alfie (or something along those lines) and the press has covered extensively how the owner, Melnyk, has taken a sizable dip in personal wealth the past few years.

They despise their villains in Ottawa but Alfie is not one of them. I don’t think you will see anything like the hatred expressed for traitors like Heatley or Yashin.

Posted by RW19 on 11/30/13 at 02:13 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.