Frolunda gunning for Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN -- The Senators aren't thinking too much about the Frolunda Indians.

Heading into tonight's final exhibition game, the Senators are focusing on their game, not the opponent.

The reverse can't be said about the Indians, the club for which Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson used to play.

"It's a game for the fans and we will do almost anything to win, then we can say we beat Ottawa, we beat an NHL team," said Indians defenceman Erik Karlsson, the Senators' top pick in the NHL draft in Ottawa in June. "It's going to be a memory you're going to remember for a very, very long time even if it's an exhibition game. It's not every day you get to see an NHL team play. It's going to be a crazy night, I think."

The Scandinavium arena will be sold out (it holds about 12,000) and will be rocking. Monday night when the Indians beat Rogle in an Elitserien game for their first regulation win in seven tries this season, a drummer kept the crowd clapping and singing throughout the game.

But the Senators will be trying to focus on their own game in their last rehearsal for the NHL regular-season opener Saturday in Stockholm against the Pittsburgh Penguins (they also play Sunday).

"We watched (Frolunda) play the other night. They have a lot of skill and they're used to playing on the big ice," said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. "We expect a very competitive game, a hard game, (but) the thing for us to really focus on ourselves and our game and do the little things right. It's our last tuneup, so to speak, for Pittsburgh."

Senators defenceman Chris Phillips played in the Scandinavium during the NHL lockout in 2004-05.

"It's a little bit different game with the big ice. You have to be a little bit more patient, smarter. As far as the skill level here, it's pretty high. We won't be surprised. We still have to go and work on our own systems which are new to some guys and keep practising that," he said.

"But if there are guys who think we are going to come in and show the rest of the world how the NHL plays, then they will be surprised because they are highly skilled players over here."

The fans will get a chance to welcome back Alfredsson, who helped Frolunda win the league championship during the lockout with 18 points in a 12-game playoff run. He expects an emotional night.

"I want to win it, but I want us to play well," he said. "We'll probably have the lines that will start on Saturday. It's not just a fun game, it's a preparation game for us. We're not just going to go out and put on a show. We're going to try and win.

"They want to prove themselves and say 'we're not too bad ourselves.' A lot of them are good players."

Alfredsson will play on The Pizza Line with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. The other combinations will be Mike Fisher between Antoine Vermette and rookie Jesse Winchester; Chris Kelly with Nick Foligno and Chris Neil and Dean McAmmond (who is nursing a cut) or Shean Donovan with Cody Bass and Jarkko Ruutu. The defensive pairings will be Phillips with Anton Volchenkov, Jason Smith and Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard with Brian Lee. Martin Gerber will be the goalie.

OUT TO SEA

On Tuesday afternoon, Alfredsson took his teammates out for a pretty wild boat ride which took them out to sea. Nobody got seasick, but "there was some Gravol handed out, though," said Heatley. "It turned out to be really good," said Alfredsson. "It was a little choppy. We got out to the open sea and jumped around a little bit. They drove the boats pretty good. They knew our situation. We've got a lot of games coming up so they were pretty cautious." ... Christoph Schubert isn't happy with being shifted from defence to forward by Hartsburg and will just have to suck it up. "He told me he wants to try me up front for a little bit and he thinks it's the best right now for the team and I guess I've just got to live with it," said Schubert. "He was right, I was disappointed and maybe still am. There's nothing I can do about it. Just keep my head up and if I get the chance again in the future, try my best out there." When asked if he thought it helped his career to be able to play both forward and defence. Schubert replied: "Who promised me that? Nobody can promise me you'll be here for the next eight years just because you can play both positions. If somebody can tell me that, I'll do it the rest of my life. I don't really care. I haven't got into the position yet where I think it's really going to help me. I want to help the team win games. If that's what it is right, that's what it is."


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