Daniel Alfredsson will be the star attraction tonight on Hockey Night in Sweden.
The Senators captain, who hasn't played since Sweden was eliminated from the World Cup in August, will make his debut tonight in his home town of Goteborg for the Frolunda Indians in a game against Lulea in the Swedish Elite League.
Frolunda is going to reap the benefits of Alfredsson's presence. This will be the fifth straight game with a crowd of more than 10,000 at the 12,044-seat Scandinavian Arena, which is a new Swedish record.
"I really feel good out there," Alfredsson said following practice yesterday. "I am really looking forward to playing a game and not just practising. It's all very exciting. Since it's a very good team with a great crowd, I am really inspired."
Alfredsson will be surrounded by familiar faces. Since the Swedes play in five-man units, Alfredsson will play on a line with Boston's P.J. Axelsson and Anaheim's Sami Pahlsson.
St. Louis defenceman Christian Backman and Vancouver's Sami Salo (a former Senator) will be on the blue line with Alfredsson.
"It's important to get Daniel going, but at this point I don't expect more than really hard work," said Frolunda coach Stephen Lundh. "It will take him a few days to get game-fit. We'll enjoy using him in the power plays. We have talked a lot about those."
That means Frolunda will try using Alfredsson's powerful shot from the point.
The Senators had the top unit with the man advantage in the NHL last season and that had a lot to do with Alfredsson blasting the puck. He hasn't played a home game in the Swedish league in nine years and the game is vastly different than the North American brand of hockey.
"Sometimes I feel a bit lost out there because of the bigger ice," said Alfredsson. "But that doesn't worry me. I don't think it'll take very long to adapt. This is what I grew up playing on.
"I might not be 100% right away, but I feel pretty good," said Alfredsson, who will wear No. 11. "Give me a week or two and hopefully I'll be at my best.
"I'm sure a lot of people in Goteborg haven't seen me play before. It's not that many that get to see NHL games. But that doesn't put any pressure on me, I just think it's gonna be fun."
Alfredsson said he likes his linemates.
"Looks good. My guess is that we'll play more straight on to the goal than the other lines, sort of an NHL style, I guess," said Alfredsson. "That's how the five of us are used to playing in the NHL. We'll try that here, too, despite the larger ice."