As much as I want to focus this game day post on an important match up between Division rivals, it’s pretty clear what everyone will be talking about tonight when the Detroit Red Wings visit the Ottawa Senators this evening at the Canadian Tire Centre.
After 17 seasons in an Ottawa uniform and for the first time in his 18 year playing career, 40 year old Daniel Alfredsson will line up with the other guys.
It’s an important night for Sens fans as we get our first real opportunity to say Thanks. After a sudden off-season departure that left both player and organization bickering back and forth in the media, it will be nice to put the off season behind us and instead focus on all the good things Alfie did for this team, organization and community over his 17 year career in the Nation’s Capital. While the Sunday start is a little strange, it means that the game will have a National audience, all tuning in to see what kind of reception the former face of the franchise receives.
I trust that Sens fans will do the right thing.
To his credit, Alfredsson certainly isn’t downplaying the significance of tonight’s game. Far too often a professional athlete will suggests “It’s just another game” but Alfie isn’t even pretending. Tonight’s game is going to be weird for him and he knows it. With many friends and family in attendance, Alfredsson knows that it’s going to be one of the more emotional games of his career although most of that emotion is likely to come out during the pregame tribute.
Because really, once the puck drops, it is just another game.
The Senators are coming off an ugly home ice loss to the Vancouver Canucks and are hoping that a match up with the Red Wings will help get them back on track. The Sens have a 2-0 record against the Wings this season outscoring them by a 10-3 margin. So while the Return of Alfie is likely to steal all the talk leading up to the game, there is another important two points on the line for the Senators. They’ll need to put together a much better effort than we saw on Thursday against the Canucks.
No morning skate for the Senators but here is how they are expected to line up.
Robin Lehner gets the start for the Senators. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 5:30 PM but if you’re headed to the game, remember to get to your seats early as the tribute video will be played before puck drop.