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Zibanejad enjoys Swede moment at training camp

Saturday, 17.09.2011 / 5:40 PM
By Rob Brodie - OttawaSenators.com / Inside the Senate Blog
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Inside the Senate Blog
Zibanejad enjoys Swede moment at training camp

He's already been to his first Senators development camp. Signed his first NHL contract. Put on a show for the Ottawa prospects in their rookie tournament triumph last weekend in Oshawa.

But Mika Zibanejad's "welcome to the NHL moment" officially came just before noon on Saturday morning at the Bell Sensplex, when he hit the ice with a player who's an idol to the Senators top pick (sixth overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Call it one Swede moment, indeed, for an 18-year-old who has a very large future in Ottawa.

"You've got to pinch yourself on the arm every time you see him on the ice the same time as you," Zibanejad said of sharing practice ice with Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "It was a dream coming true, for sure."

It's early, but the greatest player in Senators history already has a rather favourable impression of the young fella.

"He's a powerful skater and strong on the puck," said Alfredsson who, at 38, is more than twice Zibanejad's age. "It's hard to (judge) after one practice, but it's fun to be out there with him. He's quite a bit younger than I am, so I'm hopefully going to let him do the backchecking" (yes, the captain was grinning by the end of that comment).

At a training camp teeming with hot young prospects, Zibanejad will clearly be a young man to watch. He and France native Stephane Da Costa — another rookie tournament standout — figure to get a long look by the Senators in terms of filling the No. 2 centre hole (a position that Danish native Peter Regin also covets).

"They're two guys who are in the competition for that job," Senators head coach Paul MacLean said in reference to the two youngsters. "Neither one of them might be ready, so who's to say? We know the three games in Oshawa, they both played real well and showed real well. We're going to monitor them closely through the exhibition season and if one of them is ready to play, we'll give them the opportunity. If not, then we'll have to do something else."

If Zibanejad doesn't make the cut, he'll head back to Sweden to fulfill the final year of his contract with Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League. And what a story he'd have to tell about his first Senators training camp.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
3 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
4 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
5 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
6 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
7 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
8 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 76 20 42 7 62
K. Turris 76 22 33 -2 55
M. Stone 74 19 35 13 54
B. Ryan 72 18 35 8 53
M. Hoffman 73 26 21 18 47
M. Zibanejad 74 19 24 0 43
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
C. MacArthur 56 14 14 -11 28
D. Legwand 74 9 18 2 27
A. Chiasson 70 11 15 -4 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Hammond 15 1 1 .938 1.85
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49