DETROIT – This will be new for Daniel Alfredsson.
In 17-plus NHL seasons he has played 29 teams at least 10 times a piece, scoring at least three goals against every opponent. Tonight he’ll face the Ottawa Senators for the first time as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
“Obviously I’ve got a lot of good friends on the other side. I think it will be a relief once the puck drops,” Alfredsson said. “There will be a lot of emotion going into the game … But it’s a bit exciting too.”
Alfredsson’s first game against his former team is at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. His second is also there Nov. 23 before the Red Wings travel to Ottawa for a game Dec. 1.
“That’s going to be more emotional, there’s no question,” the 40-year-old right-winger said. “The way the schedule works out maybe it is a good thing. But you’re going to have to deal with it. It’s not something I want to hide from, either.”
Alfredsson has nowhere and no reason to hide. The Red Wings are 6-3-1 and he has a goal and eight assists.
Coach Mike Babcock has used Alfredsson as a movable part so far, sliding him around as offence was needed. He’s expected to skate on the second line with Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Frazen against the Senators.
No matter where he is in the lineup, being able to play 10 games has helped Alfredsson feel more like a part of the Red Wings and separate from his time in Ottawa.
“Camp, you’re just trying to get your bearings and figure things out on and off the ice,” he said. “And now the last three weeks here I feel like the family’s settled in with school and everything around and myself, as well. I think I’ve felt like I’ve settled in, kind of, in the city.”
But after playing 1,078 games and recording 426 goals and 682 assists with the Senators over 17 seasons, his first game against them is sure to be memorable.
“He was there a long time, and don’t care who you are, there’s lots of emotion in that when you face your old team,” Babcock said. “There’ll be emotion that he made a decision and we’re thankful for the decision. The great thing about it is we’re all entitled to make those, and he decided to come here.”