It's easy sledding for Alfie and Dono

DON BRENNAN

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

A couple of guys who took completely different routes to get to The Show sure do enjoy travelling in the same circles on their way to work now.

Especially when those circles are made with their snowmobiles.

First-year Senators teammates Daniel Alfredsson of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Shean Donovan of Timmins left their respective vehicles at home and opted to ride their sleds to practice at Scotiabank Place Friday -- Alfredsson on a brand new Ski-Doo Mini Z and Donovan riding his 1998 Formula 500.

Judging by how both were still wearing faces lit up like Christmas trees yesterday, it won't be the last time.

"It was Dono's idea," Alfredsson said, grinning. "He's the old vet, so I figured I'd just follow his lead.

"It was fun."

A few minutes later (and after pointing out that Alfredsson's actually the old vet of the two), Donovan explained how his Ontario upbringing leads him to climb on a snow machine whenever he can. And Friday -- thanks to the three months' worth of white stuff we've had dumped on us in December -- conditions were ideal for both him and the team captain to make the 20-minute trek to the rink stylin' under a different type of helmet.

"Usually Huntmar (Rd.) isn't plowed ... there are some good fields," said Donovan, seeming to remember the possibility that they may have graced a piece of private property or two. "Nobody shot at us, so I guess they didn't mind that much."

Donovan said they had a better time on the way home, because neither player was carrying a cellphone and neither wanted to do anything that might put them at risk of being late for practice.

The concept apparently is a novel one for those who go to the same office in a Hummer.

"Afterwards, we were able to go off the beaten path a little," smiled Donovan, who admitted to being a wee bit impressed with the machine his pal was guiding. "I had mine pinned, and he just blew by me. I'm like, whatever."

That's generally the way it goes, isn't it? When two guys work together and travel in the same circles, the older one is going to be able to figure out how to do it quicker.

Okay, so maybe having the fatter wallet from which to draw and buy better toys helps a little, too.

STARTS AND STOPS: The unofficial count had Chris Neil on the receiving end of 25 Donald Brashear punches before taking the Capitals enforcer down at the end of their second period fight. Cheapseats tips the cap to Neil, not just for stepping up a weight class (he's listed at 6-foot-1, 214 lbs., Brashear is 6-foot-3, 239 lbs.) when the Senators needed a spark, but also for being able to take the licking and keep on ticking ... Good thing Alex Ovechkin was slowed by a huge gash on his thigh. Otherwise he would have really done a number on the Senators ... Can't wait to read the accounts of Alfredsson's 23rd goal in the papers this morning. Near as I can figure, it wouldn't have counted if Mike Fisher had a better home run swing and it would have been Jason Spezza's if he could bunt. Suffice it to say, Alfredsson had a little puck luck on his side ...

BETWEEN PERIODS: Even on a day he showed up with hat in hand, Ray Emery still didn't quite get it. Great that he showed up early and was on the ice before his teammates for the morning skate. But as the backup goalie for last night's game, he should have also stayed out longer than Martin Gerber, which he didn't. So for teammates who wanted to take extra shots at a live target, the starter had to put in the extra work. That was Emery's job again yesterday, and again, he didn't show up for it at all .... The owner of the Ottawa-based Millennium Limousine service that has had the Senators account for the past five years, Chris Troughton may look like he's related to Eugene Melnyk, but we're calling him Paul Bearer from now on. That's because when a player's dream to stick with the parent club dies, as Lawrence Nycholat's did yesterday, he drives them to the graveyard that is Binghamton.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: There was a great story going around of how a six-year-old local kid wrote Alfredsson and invited him to his birthday party, and of how, totally unexpectedly, Alfredsson showed up at the boy's house, said "happy birthday" and went outside with him and his little buddies for a game of road hockey. Great story, except it was also a figment of somebody's imagination. Too bad. Alfredsson's image could use a boost ... Don Cherry's take on Emery during Coach's Corner: "He gets a big contract and he gets a big head. You know what happens when guys get big contracts. Then, Gerber turns into Terry Sawchuk and (Emery) starts pouting. The kid will get straightened out. He'll be okay." ... If Sawchuk were still alive, he would have turned 78 Friday. Grapes needs fresher material ... I know why he did it, but John Paddock lied to us all when he said Emery was ill Friday. That's not right. Explaining to reporters that the goalie showed up late and was told to "beat it" -- as Emery said 24 hours later -- was clearly the way to go ... How about Joe "Uh Oh" Corvo, eh? On one second-period shift, he makes a great move at the Capitals blue line, takes a couple strides in, then fires a shot while diving forward, and then, seconds later, he completes a perfect spinarama before drilling a slapshot off the post. To the neutral among us, the guy is just plain fun to watch -- at both ends of the ice ... Last spring, Chris Phillips knew how Steve Smith felt when he all but scored a goal on his own net in a Stanley Cup final game. Last night, he knew how all the victims of Oliver Twist felt when Alexander Semin picked his pocket for Washington's first goal.


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