Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings and Senators Saturday practice post: gearing up for the reunion; no lineup tweaks for DET

Updated 7x with video at 6:31 PM: The Detroit Red Wings practiced ahead of tomorrow's Daniel Alfredsson reunion game with the Ottawa Senators (5:30 PM, FSD Plus/TSN/AM 1270), hoping to build upon their 5-0 win over the New York Islanders on Friday...

But the Senators practiced first, and, as you might expect, it was a circus (Jared Cowen's remorseful comments regarding hitting Pavel Datsyuk included), as "Live Tweeted" by the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch...

Sens are on the ice at 11 AM today. Coach Paul MacLean and his staff doing a coaching clinic this AM. Great for locals to get insight. #Sens

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Senators are just drifting on the ice for practice here at Canadian Tire Centre. #Sens #Wings http://pic.twitter.com/jh7EIjaxJF

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Michalek-Spezza-Zibanejad; MacArthur-Turris-Ryan; Conacher-Smith-Neil and Greening-Grant-Condra. #Sens

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Methot-Karlsson; Cowen-Wiercioch: Phillips-Corvo and Gryba-Borowiecki. These are in no particular order. #Sens

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Coach Rick Wamsley explaining the drills to the coaches on hand. #Sens

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"The drill lasts until Mac blows his whistle," says Wamsley. "Then we'll have a stretch, warmup the goalies and let them play to." #Sens

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Corvo leads stretch here. #Sens http://pic.twitter.com/UvQKureOSE

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Bobby Ryan stinging a bit - got hit with a Karlsson shot. #Sens

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This must be huge. Saturday practice usually one features two reporters. Lots here today #Sens

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"I'm available for public speaking engagements, reasonable fees," says Wamsley. He usuallly isn't allowed to speak when MacLean is around.

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MacLean have a long chat with players #Sens

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Jason Spezza says he drinks a lot of coffee and he'll definitely try #EK65's blend. "Anybody with kids drinks a lot of coffee." #Sens

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Waiting for coach Paul MacLean to step to the podium. #Sens http://pic.twitter.com/HzyNwBHlgT

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MacLean said he has decided who will start but hasn't had a chance to talk to the goalies. #Sens

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"I think we can finally put a close to it ... this gives the fans a chance to move on," said MacLean. #Sens

The Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan...

Open practice at CTC. MC G. Wilson ask Rick Wamsley how long drill is going to last. "Until Mac blows the whistle". http://pic.twitter.com/aS8F9hS5cX

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Cowen-Wiercioch skating together. If they return to lineup, should be as a pair and in place of Borowiecki-Gryba. Corvo skating w Phillips

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Rumor is with Tim Horton's Coaches Clinic here today, you might actually be able to get a coffee at a Senators practice! Still rumour tho

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Datsyuk will reportedly not be in the lineup Sunday as he still suffering (concussion) from Cowen hit last week

In Swedish, SVT's Marie Lehmann...

"I love Alfie, he's the best", säger första kanadensaren vi möter på stan. Å hon fortsätter "we miss him". #sens http://pic.twitter.com/lNkLRu671x

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Vad väntar Daniel Alfredsson när han nu återvänder till Ottawa- för första gången som Red Wing...… http://instagram.com/p/hV4KiimPuV/

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"Jag hörs, Alfie var en tystare lagkapten. Båda typerna behövs i ett omklädningsrum. Mixen är det viktiga" säger Jason Spezza #sportspegeln

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"Jag spelar med en å en halv vad, så är det bara", Erik Karlsson om hälsensskadan. "Men det känns helt ok. Så länge jag inte spelar basket".

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"Han satt där borta. Det finns ingen här inne som inte är medveten om det" Erik Karlsson pekar mot "Alfies" fd plats http://pic.twitter.com/wBjTaY4Y0h

And the Ottawa Citizen's James Gordon...

Red Wings crew setting up the most elaborate road gym I've seen for a traveling team. AstroTurf and everything.

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Q: "Do you drink a lot of coffee?" Spezza: "Anyone with kids drinks a lot of coffee." Amen brother.

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Sunday game will provide closure for fans: MacLean http://shar.es/Dhtbe  via @SensReporter

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He's back https://vine.co/v/hPHDPA1K75K

Here's Gordon's early-breaking article regarding coach MacLean's comments:

"I think it’ll finally put a close to it, yes,” he said following a lengthy practice at CTC. “We’ve moved on and I know Daniel’s moved on. This gives fans an opportunity to the same and I think it’ll be good for everybody.”

As for the reception for No. 11?

“I’d expect it to be very good.”

MacLean has bigger things to worry about at the moment, however. Despite the two wins the Senators have already notched against Detroit this season, they’ll be facing a very good team that is quickly pulling away from them in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With a regulation win Sunday, the Wings, who hold the last Atlantic Division playoff spot (there are also two wild cards available), would pull 11 points clear of struggling Ottawa.

“The big focus is us,” MacLean said. “We have to do what we have to do, we know we have a difficult opponent no matter what’s on the line or who’s in their lineup, we know that they’re a good team. They played well against Long Island the other night, gave them all they can handle, they’re gonna give us all we can handle and we’ll just have to be focused on playing the game.”

The Wings beat the Islanders 5-0 Friday night, with Alfredsson scoring twice. Asked why his team seems to play better against some of the NHL’s top-tier teams, MacLean suggested fear was a factor.

“If you don’t come out and play, it could get ugly … maybe it’s as simple as that,” he said. “But we try to prepare our team for every opponent the same way, to make sure we have that emotion and play hard in every game. We haven’t got that every game this year … our next chance is tomorrow.”

OttawaSenators.com's Chris Lund summarized MacLean's post-practice presser, too:

On the team's focus: The big focus is us. We have to do what we have to do, we know we have a difficult opponent no matter what's on the line or who's in the lineup, we know they're a good team. They played well against Long Island the other night, gave them all they can handle, they're going to give us all we can handle and we just have to be focused on playing the game.

On the team playing well against elite teams: You know if you don't play, if you don't come out and play it could get ugly. Maybe it's as simple as that. We try to prepare our team for every opponent the same way and to make sure we have that emotion and play hard in every game. We haven't got that in every game this year but our next chance is tomorrow…Playing the Red Wings is different than playing Edmonton, playing Boston is different than playing Columbus because of who they are. The opponent, we could be guilty of not having enough respect for all of our opponents and having maybe too much for the elite teams.

On what stands out from games vs. Detroit this year: Other than the score? I liked the score is what I liked the most. We didn't play as much in our own zone, we were able to get out of our zone. Right now when we have trouble and issues is when we play too much in our own end, like every team does.

On what has gotten them out of the zone against Detroit:  I'm not sure, did we execute better, did they not, I don't know. I'm not saying.
 

The Free Press sent George Sipple to Ottawa...

Sens coach Paul MacLean on Wings: "They don't like getting beat ...it's going to be an emotional game for them."

And he's already penned a post-Sens-practice article:

“I think it’ll finally put a close to it, I guess,” MacLean said. “We’ve moved on. Daniel’s moved on. This gives the fans an opportunity to move on. I think it will be good for everybody.”

Alfredsson was the face of the franchise for 17 seasons in Ottawa. Asked what kind of reception he ancitipated Alfredsson receiving, MacLean said: “I mean, I don’t expect it to be bad. I expect it to be very good.”

The Wings have lost two games to the Senators this season, both at Joe Louis Arena. The Senators won 6-1 on Oct. 23 and 4-2 on Nov. 23.

Asked what stood out to him in the two games, MacLean responded: “Other than the score? I like the score.

“We didn’t play as much in our own zone. We were able to get out of our zone. Right now, when we have troubles and issues is when we play too much in our own end, like every team.”

MacLean, and former assistant with the Wings, said: “The team that we’re playing, they don’t like getting beat. And they’re going to be very prepared tomorrow. It’s going to be an emotional game for them as well.”

Then the Wings inevitably took to the ice, per MLive's Ansar Khan...

As you can imagine, a huge media turnout here in Ottawa for Wings practice at the Canadian Tire Centre as Alfredsson makes his return.

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Everyone on the trip is skating. Same lines: 14-40-93, 8-43-11, 20-18-21, 71-90-37. Bertuzzi skating with bottom six. All six D practicing.

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Alfredsson in red standing on red line as Babcock instructs players during practice. http://pic.twitter.com/gv5Dt6edXk

And the Detroit News's ever-thoughtful Gregg Krupa--and I'll add in Krupa's Tweets about Cowen:

jared cowan, 6'5", 225 pound defenseman who hit datsyuk last week, said, "i feel bad he got hurt. i didn't want to. it was just... 1/2

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2/2 "one of those quick plays where i was just trying to get a bump on him, going back to the net. obviously, it caught him in the chin."

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that said, the red wings must do what they can to protect datsyuk and zetterberg. b. probert: "no one touches stevie."

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can i say one thing in young cowan's defense? his elbows are at just about everyone's head. a tall drink of water.

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speaking of steve yzerman, on the way from downtown ottawa to what is now called the canadian tire center, one passes nepean, ... 1/2

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2/2 where yzerman played junior hockey for the nepean raiders. the raiders now play in the "yzerman division" of the CCHL.

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lots of canadian media here today, for daniel alfredsson. cameras positioned to get shot of him entering lower concourse, for practice.

Cue the Ottawa Citizen's photographer, Wayne Cuddington:

#alfie at practice. First time on #Ottawa ice since leaving. senators http://instagram.com/p/hWaudBE9o9/

The Ottawa Sun's "Live Tweeting" from practice as well.

For the record, NHL.com's Justin Goldman suggested that fantasy hockey poolies pick up Sunday's starting goalie...

Owned in just 12 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is currently stuffing opponents at a high rate. Not only is he taking advantage of some inconsistent play from Jimmy Howard, but after stealing a few wins, he’s now benefitting from more offensive support.

In Gustavsson’s first four starts of the season, Detroit was outshot in every game. They tallied just 110 shots and allowed 148. In his past three starts, however, Detroit has tallied 109 shots and allowed 66.

With the shot totals now slightly in his favor (244 shots for, 234 against in eight games), Gustavsson is 6-0-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. Facing an average of 29.94 shots per game, he has allowed just 12 goals on 188 even-strength shots, a solid .936 save percentage.

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Another indicator of Gustavsson’s rising fantasy value comes with his solid play on the penalty kill. In his first four seasons combined, Gustavsson allowed 69 power-play goals on 437 shots, a .842 save percentage. This season, however, he has stopped 40 of 44 power-play shots, a respectable .909 save percentage. He allowed four power-play goals on just 18 shots last season alone.

Although things didn’t seem to click for Gustavsson when he worked with Francois Allaire, it may have simply been bad timing. Regardless, the legendary goalie coach has left a lasting impact on a couple of fantasy-relevant goaltenders during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

While we're in the statistically-inclined department, ESPN noted the following from last night's Wings win:

Red Wings 5, Islanders 0
FROM ELIAS:
Daniel Alfredsson, in the 1200th game of his NHL career, scored two goals for the Red Wings as they beat the Islanders, 5–0. It was the 62nd multiple-goal game of his NHL career and first for a team other than the Ottawa Senators. Alfredsson, who will turn 41 years old in less than two weeks (December 11), is the sixth player in Red Wings franchise history to score two or more goals in a regular-season game at age 40 or older. The other 40-something Detroit players with multiple-goal games were Gordie Howe (16 times), Nicklas Lidstrom (twice), Alex Delvecchio, Steve Thomas and Steve Yzerman.

NHL.com's Brian Compton noted that Doug Weight and Bill Guerin will join Peter Karmanos as inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Detroit this Monday. Weight's from Warren, MI:

One of the more talented American forwards to ever play the game, Weight, now an assistant coach with the New York Islanders, will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night at the Motor City Casino in his hometown of Detroit.

Weight, 42, is part of a class that also includes one of his closest friends, Bill Guerin, along with Cindy Curley, Peter Karmanos, Jr. and Ron Mason. Weight played for six teams in the NHL (New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks and the Islanders) and had 278 goals and 755 assists in 1,238 games. He added another 23 goals and 49 assists in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games and helped the Hurricanes win the franchise's lone championship in 2006.

"I've certainly seen a lot of friends be inducted in the last couple of years, and I was hopeful," Weight said. "It meant a lot. It was an exciting call to make to my family, my father, my mother … I'm tickled pink. It's a great accomplishment for me and I'm very proud of it."

Weight is yet another talented center to be entering the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, joining the likes of some of his idols, including fellow Michigan native Pat LaFontaine, a 2003 inductee who entered the NHL when Weight was 13. But Weight knows he never would be in this position without the help of two very important people in his life.

"I looked up to a lot of USA players … Patty LaFontaine was from my area," Weight said. "Although he was only two years older than me, Mike Modano [was a major influence]. [Jeremy] Roenick was coming up.

"[But] my coaches and my family were my biggest influences and my biggest supporters. Me being a hockey parent now, the sacrifice that you give for your kids to get on the ice not only financially, but time. Being from Detroit, [my parents] sacrificed a lot. It's great to look back and think of how I was when I was 19 or 20 years old, just getting in the League to being where I am now … I feel very fortunate, very proud."

The Wings must have taken a very short skate as Lehmann reported that Alfredsson was signing autographs about 35 minutes after practice began:

Stort autografintresse bland Ottawa-fansen när Daniel Alfredssons Detroit tränat klart. @ Canadian… http://instagram.com/p/hWdszAmPgr/

Speaking of Sweden, in the Swedish prospect department, Mattias Janmark didn't play in AIK Stockholm's 3-2 win over the Frolunda Indians on Saturday...

Ditto regarding this question to Team Sweden GM/coach Par Marts from IIHF.com's Lukas Aykroyd:

You have a lot of great leaders within Tre Kronor. Have you decided on your captain for Sochi yet?

Not yet. In my mind, but I won’t tell you right now. Henrik [Sedin] is a captain, [Henrik] Zetterberg is a captain, we’ve got several guys who could be our captain.

On this side of the pond, a) many thanks to SI's Allan Muir for mentioning me in his "Top Line," and for the prospect record, he pointed out that Hockey Canada's going to release its World Junior Selection Camp roster via an article from the Toronto Sun. Expect the roster to include Jake Paterson and Anthony Mantha.

 

TSN posted a FIVE-MINUTE post-Senators-practice video, too...

A circus prior to Alfredsson's media availability? You bet, per the Ottawa Citizen's Gordon:

You may, however, read his story about Erik Karlsson's coffee preferences on your own.

Sigh, per Khan:

Babcock said Bertuzzi is not available tomorrow, so he'll go with same lineup except in goal as Gustavsson is starting as planned.

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Babcock said Alfredsson will be in starting lineup, so fans can acknowledge him during opening face off.

Here's more from Gordon...

Babcock says 11 will be in starting lineup for tribute.

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Says he and Wings want to have a big game for him.

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He's been a good addition because he's a good man an does things the right way.

And Garrioch:

"Alfredsson will be in the starting lineup tomorrow," says coach Mike Babcock. #Sens

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Babcock said he asked Alfredsson if he wanted to be in the starting lineup. "This is his chance to say thanks." #Wings #Sens

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Alfredsson said this will probably be the most emotional game of his career. #Sens

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"It felt normal coming out here then I realized I am on another team," said Alfredsson. #Sens

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Alfredsson said his family has been here since Tuesday. He says the memories will flow tomorrow. #Sens #Wings.

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Daniel Alfredsson is holding court here. #Sens #Wings http://pic.twitter.com/4rSVlgDaaQ

And now the Wings' beat writers weigh in. Here's Sipple...

Wings coach Mike Babcock: "I don't think we can be worse than we've been (against Senators)...we're bound to play good one of these times."

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Babcock said the Wings want to play well for Alfredsson on Sunday. Babcock said Alfredsson's line will start the game "for sure".

And Krupa:

about ottawa, alfredsson said he misses "the friends" most. he also said he is not particularly concerned about the fans' reception... 1/2

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2/2 but he hopes it is good. his children and family are along on the trip, and ottawa is their roots. young family.

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contingent of about a 15 in media from ottawa and canada gathered to talk to alfredsson. he lingered, after, to small talk, with a few.

The Ottawa Citizen's Gordon posted an audio clip of Alfredsson's media availabilty, as well as some Twitter notes:

Audio: Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa availability http://shar.es/DhAiF  // couple jump cuts there 'cause my phone is being dumb

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Also, the presser ends with someone's cell — on speaker phone — going "I'm sorry, I didn't get that."

Update #0.5:

Update #1: Via RedWingsFeed, here's the first of what I'm sure will be many Garrioch articles:

While it will be nice to see the former captain in his return to the Canadian Tire Centre, the Senators need to get their act together and try to halt this three-game losing skid at home.

Coming off a 5-2 loss to the Canucks Thursday at home, coach Paul MacLean wasn’t prepared to name his starting goaltender Saturday, but it’s believed backup Robin Lehner will make the start for the Senators.

Lehner made 34 stops in a 4-2 victory last Saturday in Detroit and replaced Craig Anderson in the loss to the Canucks. The Senators are only looking at the two points.

“For us, the focus is on the game, not on (Alfredsson),” said captain Jason Spezza. “It’s an important game for us in the standings, it’s an important game after losing one and we’re trying to get back on track here a bit.”

MacLean said he is hopeful the Senators will continue to react well to playing the Wings. The club has two victories in Detroit this season.

“The big focus is us,” said MacLean. “We have to do what we have to do and we know that we have a difficult opponent no matter what’s on the line or who is in the lineup. We know they’re a good team. They are going to give us all we can handle. We know if we don’t come out and play, it could get ugly.”

Update #2: Here's the Ottawa Sun's James Gordon on Alfredsson's scrum:

Alfredsson admitted Ottawa still feels like home, and he didn’t rule out returning to live here one day. Asked if Sunday’s game would be the closing of a chapter of sorts, he said he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know if I look at it that way,” he said after skating with his new teammates. “I think we were here for so long and we have so many roots here that I don’t know if it’s a closed chapter or if the book’s going to continue, and where and what’s going to happen, but I guess this is another chapter that I’ll go through.”

Nor did he rule out playing here again.

“Like I said, I don’t know,” the 40-year-old winger explained. “I’ll play this year and see how I feel, how I fit with the team and where they are and I guess you evaluate all those things. So I’m just playing this year and whatever decisions that come will come later.”

For now, he said he’s happy in Detroit.

“The city is great, there’s no question. We love the area where we live, the people of Detroit, I find very similar to here, they’re hard-working people, they’re very upbeat and positive and helpful, so that’s been great to see. Being here, I know Ottawa’s a great city to raise a family and coming to Detroit, I didn’t know what to expect and … it’s been great, no problems there.”

Hockey aside, catching up with old friends and neighbours has been at the top of his agenda.

“I think the biggest thing I looked forward to to coming back was probably seeing friends, meeting people and the game is what it’s going to be,” he said. “It’s a division rival and they’ve handled us pretty good two times and obviously coming back to Ottawa, playing the first game, I’m sure will be emotional and I’m not sure how I’ll react, but I think it will be a special night. There’s always rinks around the league where you feel good when you go into and I feel really good coming into this rink, there’s no question,” he said, adding he’s looking forward to facing off against his old team.

Update #3: Here's the Canadian Press's Lisa Wallace's Alfredsson story:

"I'm anxious to play the game," said Alfredsson to a throng of reporters. "What happens is going to happen. It's a very different situation from anything I've ever gone through before so I don't know what to expect or what's going to happen, but hopefully it will be a good night."

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Sunday's game will undoubtedly be emotional for Alfredsson, but it will also be a special night for his family. His wife and four sons are in town for the game. Three of the four boys were at the Senators' rink Saturday to watch practice.

"This is home to the kids," said Alfredsson. "There's no question. They're really looking forward to it. They're down here at practice today and they feel at home here in this rink. Same things are going to go through my head tomorrow. A lot of good memories and a lot of good things have happened here. It will be a special game."

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Regardless of what led to Alfredsson's decision, his former teammates believe he absolutely deserves to be recognized and honoured for his contributions to both the team and the community.

"There's always emotion when there's change and change in pro sports is sometimes inevitable and sometimes it isn't," said Senators captain Jason Spezza. "I think it's important that they recognize him for what he's done and not just for him leaving. I think it's a good move by the team to recognize him. I think it's the right thing to do and something he deserves."

Alfredsson played a franchise-leading 1,178 regular season games, plus playoffs and picked up 1,108 points along the way. He volunteered countless hours to various charities and was the face of the Senators.

"I fully expect him to get huge applause as he deserves that," said Ottawa's Chris Phillips. "We'll welcome that time for the fans to do that, but at the same time we've got to go out and play the game."

Alfredsson was reluctant to say that Sunday's game will close the door on his ties to Ottawa.

"We were here for so long and we have so many roots here that I don't know if it's a closed chapter or the book's going to continue and where and what's going to happen," said Alfredsson. "But I guess this is another chapter that I'll go through and I hope it will be a great reception and I'm expecting them to cheer in Ottawa as well and I'll do everything I can to keep them quiet."

The Ottawa Citizen also posted a photo gallery completely dedicated to pictures of Alfredsson at practice.

Update #3.5: From the Detroit News's Krupa:

what do the denizens of hockeytown need to know about daniel alfredsson and ottawa? local media WAY excited about having pix of... 1/2

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2/2 his children at play under the stands, here, today. the first family of the recent history of professional hockey in a nation's capital.

Update #4: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness penned an update from afar:

Alfredsson was used to seeing former teammates in the opposing locker room, but this time it’s new for him.

“We always see guys that were with us before, (Marian) Hossa and Wade (Redden), we came down to see them after games and it was weird seeing them on the other side, and all the sudden I’m there as well,” Alfredsson said. “It’s a little different but I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow but I’m looking forward to getting on the ice.”

The Senators are planning a video tribute prior to the game for Alfredsson.

“Obviously, it’s going to be emotional when the video shows,” Ottawa defensemen Erik Karlsson said. “For what he’s done for this community and organization I think he deserves nothing but the best. Once the puck drops I think it’s going to translate into any other game and we’re going to play hard and not focus on the while No. 11,” Karlsson added. “It’s going to be special for him to come back and be on the other bench for the first time in his career. It’s probably going to be emotional at first, but it’ll be game on and we’re not going to think about it much after.”

It’ll be the second time the Wings have faced the Senators this season, but just the second time for Alfredsson, who missed the last meeting due to a groin injury.

“It’ll be a warm reception for sure, he’s well-loved in this city,” Senators forward Chris Neil said. “That’s the type of person he is. I’m sure the Detroit players will tell you the same thing. Great team guy, he fits in well and will do anything for his teammates. He’s one of the hard-working guys on the ice, game in and game out. That’s what he was here for all those years. Ottawa was lucky to have a guy like that for so many years to be able to watch him play and produce like he did.”

Alfredsson originally said he left Ottawa to join the Wings because he felt Detroit had a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup that has eluded him throughout his career. Then, during a press conference in Ottawa on Aug. 15, he said the move was aided by a broken promise by the Senators. Alfredsson helped the team reduce its salary-cap hit by adding a fourth year to a deal that ended last season. All parties thought at the time Alfredsson would retire after the deal. When the 40-year-old forward felt he had another year left in him and Ottawa didn’t feel like paying him for what he felt he was worth he began looking elsewhere.

“I’m sure for him it takes on an extra level coming back to Ottawa, in a rink he’s played a lot of games over his career,” said Ottawa forward Jason Spezza, who was named the Senators’ next captain. “We’ve seen him (already this year) so it’s less strange for us to see him but I’m sure it’ll be different for him. There’s always emotion when there’s change,” Spezza continued. “Change in pro sports is sometimes inevitable. But it’s important they recognize him for what he’s done, not just for him leaving.”

 

Update #5: The CBC Ottawa posted a clip of Alfredsson's presser...

And the Free Press's George Sipple took note of Jared Cowen's remorse:

“I feel bad he got hurt,” Cowen said today after practice at Canadian Tire Centre. “I didn’t mean to (injure him). Just one of those quick plays where you just want to get a bump on before he got back to the net.

“Obviously, caught him in the chin. I didn’t feel like it was that hard though. I never really hit a guy in the face with an elbow before, so I felt bad. But at the time, I didn’t really mean to hit him in the face.”

Cowen said he hit Datsyuk “right on the button.”

“Just by chance, got him right in the spot,” Cowen said. “It’s too bad. I hope he’s back but at the same time, accident.”

Cowen was recently a healthy scratch for the Senators and said he didn’t know if he’ll play Sunday.

Update #5.5: Um, uh...

Update #6: MLive's Ansar Khan penned an article about Alfredsson's return, offering takes from #11's coach and teammates about Alfredsson's status as a game-starting player...

“I talked to him about that; I wouldn’t put him there if he wasn’t comfortable with that,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “One of the things he gets to do here (Sunday) is say thanks. He’s done that already anyway. Anybody who’s played almost 1,200 games in your organization and has done a lot for your city and the kind of man he is off the ice, it’s his opportunity to take a bow that way. It’s people’s opportunity to express what they got to say, too. They pay money, so they get to do whatever they want. But respect is an important factor in life.’’

And the team's desire to ensure that Alfredsson's current team wins:

“We want to do everything we can to help him have a good homecoming,’’ linemate Justin Abdelkader said. “It’ll be a fun night. The crowd will be into it.’’

Said Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg: “Obviously, it’s a big night for him. For us it’s big; we’re looking forward to it.’’

Alfredsson is coming off perhaps his best game as a Red Wing on Friday, when he scored two goals and added an assist in a 5-0 victory at the New York Islanders. He has 19 points, including six goals, in 22 games.

“I think I’m playing pretty good,’’ Alfredsson said. “I missed a week (Nov. 15-23) with a groin injury but feel 100 percent. I got a little bit more energy. I’m playing with two really hot players in (Darren) Helm and Abdelkader; they made life easier for me.’’

Babcock said Alfredsson’s impact extends beyond games.

“In our room, at practice, with the coaches, just the kind of man he is makes you a better team,’’ Babcock said. “When you add to your core leadership of Zetterberg, (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Niklas) Kronwall with an every-dayer like Alfredsson, who does things right, it makes you a better team.’’

Alfredsson also addressed his playing future, not ruling out another year with the Wings (or Senators):

“It’s all health and mentally how you feel,’’ he said. “I’m having fun right now. If you feel you have energy coming to the rink that’s the biggest thing. … I will see how I feel and how I fit with the team and where they are.’’

 

Update #7: The Ottawa Citizen added a non-embeddable practice video to James Gordon's story, and I looked around and found a YouTube version. It includes a good chunk of comments from coach Babcock:

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Chet's avatar

nothing against you, GM, because i know you’ve gotta cover what the MSM is putting up, but as a wings fan this is the worst, overplayed, repetitious NON story of the season. it can be summed up in one sentence, for god’s sake: alfredsson left, it’s an emotional homecoming of sorts for all concerned, but there’s a game to play. how many different ways do they want us to hear that?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/30/13 at 06:26 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.