Alfie goes full speed ahead

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:17 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Hours prior to his 997th NHL game, Daniel Alfredsson was asked if he’d consider trying the role of “healthy scratch” on for size in order to get some rest for the playoffs once the Senators clinched a spot.

About now, it looks as though they’ll finish no higher or lower than fifth.

“Yeah,” the 37-year-old captain deadpanned, “I’ll probably take three games off.”

Sure, Dan, why not push that historic 1,000th game of yours off until next season. Let the anticipation build up a bit over the summer. We can even add a few more pages to the commemorative supplement.

“I won’t take any games off,” Alfredsson said on a more serious note.

But if the coach insisted ...

“I still wouldn’t,” Alfredsson said. “Not at this time of the year. It’s the way I feel, too. I’m good enough (health wise). If I take practice days off, I’ll be ready for the games.

“That will be the greatest preparation, to play all the games. We (all) should. Unless someone is hurting, you want to go into the playoffs with everybody going. It’s more important to take off days in between, then rest in the game (day).”

So other than a morning skate the day of the game, you won’t practise any more this season?

“Probably not,” Alfredsson said. “Not the way it looks now.”

It’s hard to argue with the way Alfredsson is playing as he approaches No. 1,000. With three assists Tuesday night, he now has 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 13 games since the Olympics.

Alfredsson would like to start finding the back of the net more, however.

He landed in Washington having scored in three straight games, but had not lit the lamp in 11 games prior to that.

“I was frustrated, because I wasn’t being strong enough on the puck to generate the chances I want to,” Alfredsson recalled. “I still don’t think I’m there. I’m still only shooting two, maybe three shots a game. I’d like to be at four or five, to give myself a chance to score more. I can be better there.”

It won’t come through practice, but with the results, no one is about to complain.

FOR PETE'S SAKE

The Corsi Rating, named after Sabres goalie coach Jim Corsi, is a measurement of total shot differential while a player is on the ice. It accounts for all shots directed at a goal — missed shots, blocked shots, shots, goals — and also gauges how often a player’s team is in shooting position, compared to how often the opponents get into scoring position while he is on the ice. In hockey circles, it is becoming one of the most useful statistics in evaluating players. While Chicago’s Marian Hossa has the highest Corsi rating in the league, Ottawa’s Peter Regin is sixth on the list. He used to be second. With Milan Michalek injured, Regin has gone from a fourth-line player to the left winger on the team’s top unit, alongside Jason Spezza and Alfredsson. Regin opened the scoring Tuesday night just 1:24 into the game with his 13th of the season.

BETWEEN PERIODS

University of New Hampshire scoring star Bobby Butler will wear No. 16 for the Senators. Butler, whose two-way, two-year entry-level deal with the Senators went through Tuesday, participated in the morning skate at the Verizon Center. “It was unbelievable,” he said. “Just like I imagined. I was lucky to be out there. It was fun.” Butler said he chose to sign with Ottawa because of “the general manager, the guys recruiting me (and) I’ve been watching these guys on TV since I’ve been growing up.” That Ottawa’s just one short flight from the family home in Marlborough, Mass., was also a factor. And how does the Senators captain welcome the 6-foot, 185-pound right winger to the team? “He has to dry my skates, go get me drinks,” said Daniel Alfredsson. “I usually break them in that way.” Like any good butler? “You set me up there, didn’t you?” said Alfredsson.

THINGS I THINK I THINK

Senators D Brian Lee was credited with an assist on a goal by Binghamton G Chris Holt a couple of weeks ago. Nice setup by you, Brian? “I honestly don’t think I touched the puck,” Lee said. “Marty St. Pierre fired it back to me, and missed my stick ... it went all the way to the goalie, and he sniped it. Tucked ’er inside the post. It was pretty awesome.” ... Caps D Mike Green made three great defensive plays before the game was 22 minutes old. Why was he left on Team Canada, again?


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