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Alfredsson leader of the pack

Tuesday, 10.9.2007 / 4:14 PM ET / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Alfredsson leader of the pack
He keeps hearing the question more and more with each passing day, but Daniel Alfredsson’s response remains as consistent as his play.

A shrug and a grin, sometimes garnished with a wee bit a deadpan humour.

So how about it, Daniel? Are you like that bottle of fine wine, the one that keeps on getting better with age?

“A year smarter, I guess,” the Ottawa Senators captain said with a smile and a glint in his eye after a three-point effort against the New Jersey Devils on Monday afternoon at Scotiabank Place.

And so it was, in the wake of his latest stellar performance, that the classy 34-year-old Swede – and the rest of the National Hockey League, for that matter – awoke Tuesday morning to find Alfredsson leading them all in both goals (five) and points (eight, tied with Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche).

It’s almost like the off-season was a mirage, that we’re witnessing the same Alfredsson who set such a torrid pace during that magical ride to the Stanley Cup final in June.

“Alfie seems like he’s at a different level than most players on most teams on a given night,” Senators head coach John Paddock said. “It appears he’s ahead of everybody else a little bit, and that’s the way it was in the spring.”

Adds winger Dany Heatley: “He’s picked up from where he’s left off last year, producing offensively and still doing everything he does defensively, killing penalties and leading this team.”

Alfredsson’s thoughts about his own play are typically more reserved.

“Obviously, I feel pretty good,” he said before the Senators departed for Atlanta, where they’ll face the Thrashers on Wednesday night (7 p.m., No TV, Team 1200). “Our line and the whole team’s playing well, and when you win games, it’s a lot easier for individuals to do well.”

Especially when they seem so perfectly matched, as the red-hot trio of Alfredsson, Heatley and Jason Spezza are once again. They’ve combined for 22 points to fuel the Senators’ 4-0 start out of the gate.

During training camp, Paddock had talked about separating Alfredsson from his two linemates to spread the wealth, so to speak. But given the trio’s sizzling start, Paddock admitted “they’ve made it impossible” for him to make that move now.

“At this point, we’ll keep going with it as it is, until something significant makes me change my mind,” he said.

While Alfredsson’s preference is to stay right where he is, his take on the situation is about what you’d expect from a captain and a leader.

“I’ve talked with John, and he knows I’m fine wherever I play and wherever he thinks I’ll be able to help the most,” he said.

Given where Alfredsson’s game is at these days, he’s sure to elevate the play of any line.

And here’s a scary thought: Spezza believes Alfredsson’s best is still yet to come.

“I think he’s got another level he can go to,” he said when asked if the captain is in playoff form already. “But he’s playing awfully good hockey right now, and he’s carried the momentum from the end of last season into this season.”




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02