A salute to Alfredsson
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Daniel Alfredsson acknowledges the crowd after the NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Jan. 29, 2012. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA - The only thing missing from Daniel Alfredssonís magical Sunday at Scotiabank Place was a third goal.
Twice, the Senators captain brought the crowd to its feet and had the 20,510 that jammed the building chanting ďAlfie, Alfie, AlfieĒ after scoring goals in the NHL all-star game in what can only be described as an emotional afternoon.
Team Alfredsson fell 12-9 to Team Chara, but the final score didnít matter. The fans got what they wanted to see, the Senators captain score twice and the chance to give him a proper salute.
ďFrom a selfish point of view, itís going to rank really high. Itís just a whole ego weekend, pretty much,íí said a laughing Alfredsson. ďBut itís been great to share this with Jason (Spezza), (Milan Michalek) and Erik (Karlsson), too.
ďThe way this year has developed for us has been really good Ö thereís been a lot of positives. Personally, I feel healthy, Iím having fun on the ice again. And then to have a weekend like this is surreal. You can never dream of anything like this.
ďYou donít really know how to embrace it, really. I donít think until (Sunday) when the kids go to bed, you can kind of sit and relax, Iím sure Iíll be dead tired, but take it all in and realize this is something that not everybody gets to experience.
ďI donít know if I deserve it or not, but itís definitely humbling.Ē
Alfredsson had his chances to complete the hat trick. He had two good shots at Boston goalie Tim Thomas in the third and hit a post.
He joked: ďI wasnít trying to score in the third,Ē but everybody knew Alfredsson wanted that third goal.
Even referee Tim Peel, who has taken his knocks for a bad call against Ottawa last week in Anaheim, realized the value of the moment and delayed dropping the puck so Alfredsson could hear the cheers of the fans and acknowledge them.
The rest of the all-stars wanted to salute him as well.
ďHockey is a very respectful game and guys really respect what he has done in his career,Ē said Spezza. ďThis was an amazing weekend to be a part of and amazing to see the accolades for what heís done in the past.
ďAs a teammate, we appreciate him and we understand what he has done in our locker room, but for him to be on the national stage and for people to give him the recognition he deserves is something we really enjoyed seeing.Ē
Alfredsson scored twice in a span of 1:30 and even gave his team a brief 6-5 lead over Team Chara. He has scored 400 goals, played more than 1,100 games with the same team and had the goal that sent Ottawa to the Stanley Cup final in 2007.
But Alfredsson isnít sure where this will stand in the highlights of his career. Not yet.
ďIím still living it. Itís kind of hard to place it,Ē he said. ďItís almost like Iím walking on Cloud 9. I donít know, to be honest. I donít know if this is an accomplishment as much as itís been a celebration of what Iíve done before.
ďIím really thankful for that. Scoring the 400th goal a month ago at home is more of a special feeling, it decided the game and we won the game at home. I had a lot of family and friends here. That rush that happens that second is unbelievable. This has been more: Everybody thinks Iím great (smiling). Itís been almost overwhelming, to be honest.Ē
It was overwhelming for those who witnessed it as well.