Former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson says he’ll be a regular visitor this season

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Daniel Alfredsson looked quite comfortable behind the Canadian Tire Center bench as his club’s scrum coach on day two of Ottawa Senators training camp.

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And while the former Ottawa Senators captain won’t be joining the organization, he plans to spend more time on the rink. Just for good measure, Team Alfredsson took a 5-0 win over Team (Chris) Neil, so it was nice to be rewarded with a win as well.

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The 49-year-old Alfredsson, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, is thrilled to be back on the ice. He was the first player in the organization’s modern franchise history to have his number retired, and he’s looking forward to reconnecting with the team.

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“It was a lot of fun actually. It’s nice to be back on the ice and I really enjoyed it,” Alfredsson said. “I know Neiler is frustrated because I got the pirate move right. grabbing the bench at home and he wasn’t happy about that. I think that carried over into the game.

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“I got to know a few of the guys last year. Being with them in this environment brings back a lot of memories, the start of camp, the start of a new season and we feel that there is a lot of energy with this team entering the new season. There’s a lot of optimism they’ll have a good camp and then they’ll get to it.

Alfredsson noted that he will be more on the ice this season, but won’t be joining the club in an official capacity anytime soon.

“I am a guest and it will stay that way. I’m going to be more present than I have been, that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s going to be to come in and talk to the guys if they need it or have any questions. I will be there for them, which is exciting.

“It’s fun to be a part of it again and that’s how it’s going to be this year.”

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The club reached out to Alfredsson when they decided to name the three camp teams, Neil and defender Chris Phillips, after him.

“A few guys thought it would be fun if I could come and coach. I said, ‘Yes, of course’ and that’s how it all started,” Alfredsson said.

Alfredsson finished his career with 444 goals, 713 assists and 1,157 points in 1,246 NHL games, while he also added 100 extra points (51-49) in 121 playoff games with Ottawa. His regular season numbers rank him 55th in all-time NHL scoring.

The key to Alfredsson’s success was his ability to play on both sides of the ice. His 444 goals rank him 65th in NHL history. He is ranked No. 2 in this category among Swedish players, behind former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin, who scored 564 goals in 1,264 games.

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Named club captain in 1999, Alfredsson played 1,178 games with the Senators before signing with the Detroit Red Wings to end his career.

Just getting to the rink on Friday had a special meaning.

“Like I said, it’s fun to be at the rink. There is no doubt,” Alfredsson said. “I feel like even though I’ve been back here and there over the past few years, there are so many memories that come back when you drive into the rink or even step into it.

“You see the same people at the loading dock, the security guys and it’s like deja vu.”

Alfredsson said he’s seen the buzz around town about this season and hopes the Senators can push for a playoff berth.

“There’s a different kind of optimism, just among my friends and tennis buddies. You can tell they’re excited about the changes to the roster. They’re hoping they’ll take the plunge and at least be contenders. in the playoffs and hopefully they make the playoffs,” Alfredsson said.

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The Senators are trying to reconnect with their elders. Phillips returned to the role of Vice President of Business Operations while Neil was named Vice President of Community and Business Development. General manager Pierre Dorion also added former defender Wade Redden to play development.

Coach DJ Smith, it’s good to have players like Alfredsson, Neil and Redden in the room.

“(Alfredsson) is the best player in the franchise,” Smith said. “He means a lot to the community and to our players. To see a guy around here again, even if it’s only for a day and the players have talked to me about bringing him in, is good for guys like Tim (Stutzle) and Brady (Tkachuk).

“He was in their place and he was under a lot of pressure. He basically helped turn the franchise around. It’s just good for our guys to have this guy with that kind of weight and to see guys like Neiler and Philly come up.

“We want the guys to feel when they’re done playing that they can be here and be part of the community. This helps the organization move to the next level. Just having Alfie here for an hour helps with that.

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Twitter: @sungarrioch

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