"We're not going to feel sorry for ourselves"
With many people around the league beginning to sour on the Ottawa Senators' playoff hopes after a rash of injuries, Daniel Alfredsson was clear on Friday that this team isn't out of it yet.
Alfie acknowledged the injuries to the likes of Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza and others were big subtractions from the roster, but ultimately feels the work ethic of the group and systems in place will give them enough to work with going forward.
"It's a big blow for us, there's no question with what Erik does for this team. But, we're not going to feel sorry for ourselves," said Alfredsson. "We're in a tough spot without some of our top players but at the same time it's a great opportunity for some other guys. I think we have a good system in place and if we work hard we're still going to give ourselves chances to win games."
With so much youth being injected into the lineup by way of reinforcements, the Sens will be playing the high energy hockey you can expect from young legs. Alfredsson also suggested that this is a good reflection of the job the front office has done to fill out the depth of the franchise. Meaningful minutes for young players now will eventually pay dividends down the road.
"It will be a vibrant group, there's no question," said Alfredsson. "What management has done and the scouting staff has done to give this organization more depth is a good thing and is going to help us not just right now but also down the road."
The Sens are accustomed to the role of the underdog under Head Coach Paul MacLean. In 2011-12, many wrote them off as bottom feeders destined for the draft lottery before the team earned a playoff berth. Now, with fans and pundits around the league crossing the Sens off their list of playoffs threats with no Karlsson or Spezza, the team will be looking to make the rest of 2013 a case of déjà vu for opponents.
Alfredsson says people can expect the team to develop that underdog's chip on the shoulder once again.
"I think this group, we weren't expected to do much last year and people aren't going to expect us to do much now either. We feel that as a motivator and we're going to go out there and work hard every night and give ourselves a chance to win."