Alfie shines brightest

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Daniel Alfredsson is on top of the hockey world.

Not only is the Senators captain leading the NHL scoring race with 67 points, he's been named first star of the week by the league for his seven-point performance last Thursday vs. Tampa Bay.

"I guess you could say player of the day because it was only one game," quipped Alfredsson.

"It's a great honour. It's one of those games I will always remember."

He's also having a season to remember. With 32 goals in 47 games, 50 is within reach for Alfredsson, who's also got a serious shot at the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

"It would be nice (to get 50)," said Alfredsson. "(But) I'm not sure I would be able to do it."

Alfredsson and Jason Spezza weren't required to practice yesterday after participating in all-star festivities over the weekend.

Alfredsson's more focused on team goals with the puck set to drop on the second half of the season.

But what does he think about a scoring title?

"Not a whole lot," said Alfredsson. "It's nice to be up there. If it was the end of the year, that'd be awesome, but I think you still focus on the team and where we're standing. We've got to keep pushing to stay ahead of everybody else to reach our goal of winning the conference."

The 35-year-old Alfredsson did admit that "I do look at (scoring stats) more than I have in the past, especially with (Spezza) and Heatley. They're two young guys with that mentality. They've always been up there.

"That was never my thing. It's not something I check every day."

SHOULDER ICES EAVES

Senators W Patrick Eaves won't be in the lineup tonight. He injured his shoulder vs. the Bolts and was stiff yesterday. It's the same shoulder that forced Eaves to miss six weeks earlier in the season, but it's not expected to keep him out for an extended period. "His shoulder is structurally fine," said coach John Paddock. "There's no damage to what was done before ... I don't think he's quite ready to play and we've been off since Thursday. He didn't skate (yesterday) and I don't think it would be wise for him to play unless he has a miracle change." The Senators didn't call up anybody to fill in for Eaves -- who's day-to-day -- meaning W Brian McGrattan, a healthy scratch vs. Tampa, returns to the lineup.

OFF THE GLASS

Paddock hopes his players come back energized from the all-star break, ready to fight to hold the top spot in the East with others starting to nip at their heels. "Everybody knows how tough the league is," said Paddock. "There's real parity. You have to play hard every night with a full lineup to have success. There should be really good intensity from every team in the league. Everybody is in a hunt for something. The games should intense." ... Paddock said W Dany Heatley (separated shoulder) is making good progress, but doesn't expect the sniper to return any sooner. Heatley, injured Jan. 12 vs. the Red Wings, was quick to resume skating and has been shooting the puck. "We announced 4-6 weeks (for Heatley to return) and I'd bet my last dollars it won't be before four weeks," said Paddock. "I don't think there's any big surprise coming here. We're hoping that it's on the short end of six (weeks), rather than six. He's doing good, but he's a piece away from playing." ... Isles G Rick DiPietro, who tweaked his hip flexor during the all-star skills competition Friday, wasn't on the ice yesterday but is expected to play tonight. Paddock, who coached the Eastern Conference all-stars, had some friendly advice for the star netminder: "Rick told me he was fine, but I told him if he needed some rest he might want to take his game off and do us a favour," Paddock said with a laugh.


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