A thousand kudos to Alfie

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. -- There were several congratulatory notes on captain Daniel Alfredsson's phone on Tuesday morning before his landmark 1,000 NHL game.

The most notable was from Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.

"Alfie, congratulations on Game No. 1,000," Chiarelli wrote to Ottawa's captain in a text message. "Your skill, durability and grit have never been fully appreciated in the league."

On that point, Chiarelli, the former Senators assistant GM, is right. Not only has Alfredsson, 37, been the club's best player for more than a decade, he has developed into one of the league's best performers -- not to mention one of its most consistent.

A lot of Alfredsson's hard work has gone unnoticed outside of Ottawa.

"I just wanted to tell him how I felt," Chiarelli said from Boston. "I think he's a terrific player. People question his durability and that may be his strength. I think he's taken for granted. I was part of that organization and I was probably the same as everyone else."

Alfredsson's teammates were thrilled to be part of the historic night.

"Before I got traded here, I knew he was a great player and pretty much a future hall-of-famer and I had a lot of respect for him, but after getting dealt here and getting to know Daniel Alfredsson the person, it means a lot more," said Senators defenceman Chris Campoli.

"He's such a great guy and a class act. He's the best leader I've ever been around. He's truly a guy where I hope that someday people will talk about me the same way they think of him. Not on the ice, but off the ice with the way he carries himself. We're really going to enjoy the moment."

In the kitchen

It looks like Florida players can't wait for the season to end. Panthers RW Nathan Horton left the ice in a rage after getting in a shoving match with assistant coach Mike Kitchen near the end of practice. Assistant Jim Hulton had to step between the two to prevent a serious altercation, and Horton broke his stick over the bench and was screaming at Kitchen as he left the ice. "It's that time of year. If you didn't have people that were disappointed about the situation we're in and the nerves weren't a little bit frayed and edgy across the board, you'd wonder about people's competitiveness," said Panthers coach Peter DeBoer. "Those types of things happen." Apparently, Kitchen wasn't happy with Horton's work ethic, but the coach left before speaking with reporters. "Nobody is happy about where they're at," said DeBoer. Of course, DeBoer can say those types of things happen, but I've never seen it before.

Numbers game

Daniel Alfredsson is the fourth player in Ottawa history to wear No. 11 and will almost certainly be the last. The others to wear the number: Mark Freer, Jarmo Kekalainan and Evgeny Davydov ... Alfredsson became the sixth NHLer to play in his 1,000th game while wearing an Ottawa uniform. The others are Laurie Boschman, Kevin Dineen, Curtis Leschyshyn and Jason Smith ... Alfredsson is the 22nd European and 18th Swede to reach the milestone. Detroit D Nicklas Lidstrom is the all-time leader in games played among Europeans with 1,409. He and Alfredsson are the only Europeans to hit the 1,000 mark with the same team.

The last word

Senators prospect Jared Cowen, the club's top pick in 2009, joined the club on Tuesday. "I just wanted him to come here and see how players prepare for big games," said Ottawa assistant GM Tim Murray. Cowen, who spent this season with the WHL's Spokane Chiefs, is happy to be part of the stretch run. "It's nice to be back," the defenceman said ... Ottawa signed D David Dziurzynski from Alberni in the BCJHL to a three-year contract. He will report to the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton next season. He had 21 goals, 53 assists and 79 PIMS in 59 games this season.

BRUCE.GARRIOCH@SUN.MEDIA.CA


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