Alfie: The new Captain Canada

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

For one day, anyway, he was Captain Canada.

We'd be happy to have him.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson wore a white Team Canada jersey for practice yesterday, making good on a bet on the outcome of the Canada-Sweden gold-medal game at the world junior championship he had with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

Team Canada won.

Alfredsson didn't.

"I would have liked it the other way around, Melnyk wearing the Swedish jersey. Maybe next year," said Alfredsson, who took his share of ribbing from his teammates.

They teased him that he was looking a little tougher and working a little harder coming back yesterday, the traits associated with "Canadian" hockey.

"There was a little extra grit," joked goaltender Ray Emery.

Alfredsson added: "I didn't look as smooth as usual."

Ouch.

If Sweden had won, Melnyk would have had to wear a Swedish sweater to a future Senators game.

THE GRIND BEGINS: The Senators will have an optional practice today as they start the grind through the dog days of the schedule. Starting Thursday with a visit from the Sabres, the Senators play what amounts to a game every two days between now and the end of the regular season April 4 (41 games in 85 days).

ALL-STAR ALFIE?: The starting lineups for the NHL all-star game in Atlanta Jan. 27 will be announced today and Alfredsson was hanging onto the last starting spot among the forwards in the last update of fan balloting. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby led with 445,041 votes followed by Tampa's Vincent Lecavalier (198,922) and Alfredsson (197,629). "It would be a great honour, obviously, there's no question," said Alfredsson. "I heard I was third last week. Hopefully, all the Swedes kept voting. It would be really nice. Not that there's anything wrong with Spezz (Jason Spezza) and (Dany) Heatley, but Crosby and Lecavalier wouldn't be bad, either (as linemates)." Alfredsson has played in four all-star games (1996, '97, '98 and 2004).

EAVES OF CONSTRUCTION: W Patrick Eaves participated in his first full practice with his teammates yesterday as he tries to build up the strength in the shoulder he separated in November. If things go well, he might be ready to return within a week or so. Senators coach John Paddock said he was pleasantly surprised with how well Eaves shot the puck.

WHO NEEDS ENEMIES?: After yesterday's tussle in practice between Emery and tough guy Bryan McGrattan, Spezza recalled getting into it with Emery in the warmup for an AHL game. He shot a puck high on Emery and Emery whistled a puck at Spezza's head in return. The next time down, they got into a stick fight, slash by Emery, spear by Spezza. "Both teams stopped to watch," said Spezza. "If we had been on opposite teams, I think we both would have been suspended."

HEAR AND THERE: Paddock will not be on hand for practice today as he will travel to Winnipeg to attend a ceremony for CBC broadcaster Don Wittman, who will be inducted into the CBC's Hall of Fame. Wittman, a Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster and the voice for many of us of CFL football, curling and track and field, is battling cancer ... Alfredsson was taking Emery's side in his scrap with McGrattan. "I would be mad, too, if somebody cut in front of me in a bag skate," he said ... Senators GM Bryan Murray was back at Scotiabank Place after watching the world junior championship in the Czech Republic. He said he could make a trade right now if he was willing to part with a first-round draft pick and couple of young players, but that price is too high for his liking for what he would get in return. "For the player I was talking about, I wouldn't do that." ... Murray said he would like to hang onto his first-round draft pick this year given the draft is here in Ottawa. It was suggested the fans would be happy to swap the chance to cheer the club's first-round pick for a chance to cheer a Stanley Cup win and Murray agreed ... Murray said he didn't have a problem with McGrattan and Emery exchanging punches yesterday. "Brian was probably bored. Ray was probably bored. I never have any problem with that." Murray said when he was coaching the Capitals, F Bobby Carpenter and a young Scott Stevens fought four or five times in practice one year. Bobby Carpenter? Really?


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