While he and the other Olympic-bound Euros on the Senators were chugging water to help them produce a sample for drug testers yesterday, Daniel Alfredsson laughed when he remembered how things were done back in his homeland.
For testing prior to the world championships, guys were fed beer to prompt urination. As many as it took, too. Team doctors accompanied the players for the procedure -- y'know, just to make sure everything came out okay -- and being true gentlemen, they wouldn't let the boys drink alone.
"They'd be like, 'take your time, take your time,' " Alfredsson chuckled. "Just so they'd be able to have a couple with you."
Alfredsson, meanwhile, was formally toasted during Thursday's game against the Habs with the public announcement that followed the 250th goal of his career with the Senators.
On the bench at the time, he looked a little surprised.
"I didn't think they'd announce that," he said yesterday.
Alfredsson, who would later that night score No. 251, rightfully should have been recognized a week ago Saturday in the 7-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With two goals that night, he surpassed Cy Denneny (1917-1928) as the all-time leader in goals scored by an Ottawa Senator.
"That just means I'm getting old," Alfredsson joked when delivered the news yesterday. "I think it's nice, but maybe it's one of those things you appreciate more when you look back at your career after it's done."
That shouldn't be for some time yet. Alfredsson, 33, still has lots left in the tank. More than ever, in fact. Dany Heatley, who's eight years younger, is the only Ottawa forward getting more ice time this season.
Alfredsson is averaging 21:37, while Heatley's workload is 21:42 per game. With talk turning to the Olympics, Jason Spezza suggested Senators coach Bryan Murray would be doing Canada a favour by increasing Alfredsson's minutes the next two weeks, "to make sure he's extra tired" by the time he gets to Italy.
"Please do, please do," replied Alfredsson.
Captain Dan is feeling energetic these days, indeed.
"I come in every morning, look at the standings and say, 'Geez, Carolina won again last night,' we can't let up," he said, stressing the significance of beating the Hurricanes in what is shaping up as a two-team race for first place in the Eastern Conference. "I'm starting to feel fresh again. I thought I had a tough road trip (Edmonton and Minnesota last week), but my legs have more jump in them now, since coming back from the (rib) injury.
"I think the coach does a great job, I think he reads us really well, and I like when I'm out there a lot."
Yep, Alfredsson's aging all right. Like a fine wine.
BACK ON BLADES: Prior to his team's practice, RW Martin Havlat was on the ice in full equipment yesterday for the first time since dislocating his shoulder Nov. 29. Because nobody has said otherwise, Havlat, who skated with strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee, is still expected to be out until the end of the regular season, at least.
ICE CHIPS: With eight games to go before the Olympics, Bryan Murray is stressing the importance of entering the break on a strong note. "This game against Boston, and this upcoming road trip (New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Buffalo), to me, are very important," the coach said of this week's schedule. "If we want to be considered one of the top teams in the league, we have to take advantage of these games and play well. We're three behind Carolina ... if you're not trying to be the best in the league, you're not trying." ... Murray is paying particular attention to detail in practice. "I want a team that can pass the puck and plays its position," he said. "In critical times, in a big game, that's a really good thing to fall back on."