MONTREAL — As badly as he wants to win a Cup, Daniel Alfredsson would never, ever, be open to the idea of a trade that sends him to a contender before his great career is over.
“I’d say I wouldn’t be interested in that. Today, anyway,” the Senators captain replied when asked that question Saturday morning at the Bell Centre.
“I just think, for that to be the case we would have to be a team that would be dead last with no hope at all.
“If there’s even a slim chance, there’s no way.”
If Alfredsson has any type of a scout’s eye, the Senators will not land in the NHL’s basement during any of the three or four (or eight or nine) years he has left.
Not with the goaltending they’re getting from Brian Elliott. And not with the goaltending they’re going to get from Robin Lehner.
The big 19-year-old Lehner made 34 saves as Binghamton lost 5-2 to Hamilton (Montreal”s AHL team) at the Bell Centre on Friday night.
Alfredsson, who had nothing else he’d rather do on a night off, watched from the pressbox.
“A few guys played well,” he said of the Baby Sens. “(Andre) Benoit played well, (Erik) Condra played well, Robin played really well I thought.”
And that’s not just Alfredsson speaking up for a fellow Swede, because while he’s patriotic, he’s also a little confused as to which country he should be calling home.
“I don’t know what I consider myself, to be honest,” he said.
(Note: Hab Killer would be appropriate, as he entered Saturday’s game with 101 points (29 goals) and a plus-22 in 77 career games versus Montreal.)
“Me and my wife have lived pretty much our whole adult life in Canada. But your roots are your roots.”
He means Sweden, but Alfredsson also has some pretty strong roots in Ottawa. And, after 15 years, he no desire to uproot.
STARTS AND STOPS
It’s true that, on far too many nights, he has played like Betty White out there.
But Alex Kovalev has been better lately, and on Saturday, he was flying.
No, not his plane. On the ice. Honest.
The victim of so much booing at the Bell Centre that you’d swear a large number of Ottawa fans made the trip for the game, Kovalev gave the ref what looked like the old “yes I tipped that shot” nod on Ottawa’s first goal, which was originally credited to Erik Karlsson. But during the first intermission it was changed to be his.
It was the 996th point of his career, and in the second Kovalev looked like he was determined to get to 1,000 right then and there. Carey Price robbed him on great back to back chances during one shift. But he did score again in the third, to up his point total to 997 and counting ... You think Kovalev likes playing at the Bell Centre? What about Zack Smith. He now has four goals in 26 NHL games, and two of them (including his first ever) were scored in Montreal.
THINGS I THINK I THINK
After falling down three times before the 12 minute mark, Chris Kelly headed to the Senators dressing room, presumably with skate problems. He returned a short time later to assume his position on a line (with Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu) that buzzed hard in the Habs’ zone most of the night.
On one shift in the second, Kelly set Ruutu up with an open net the latter missed, then was robbed after Neil presented him a great chance in front ... Face it — playing the lead role in The Rick Wamsley Story could be Adam West.
The two former masked men bear at least a slight resemblance, especially if you look at Wamsley-now and West-then headshots ...
Always enlightning is a visit to the dressing room stall of Mike Cammallerri, the Habs sniper who isn’t doing much sniping these days.
Cammallerri entered Saturday with just three goals — but just one in his previous 11 games — and pointless in his last three outings.
“I’ve never felt so good about my game and produced so little,” he said. “It’s like, come on, something just hit me and give me an assist.”
Also struggling was Habs captain Brian Gionta, who had just one goal despite a team-leading 51 shots on net.
“Trust me, we’re both on suicide watch right now,” said Cammalleri. “Every morning it’s like, hey Gio, good to see ya. You all right?” ... Chris Campoli, on those battling jockeys Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano brawling at the Breeders Cup. “‘I’m not a huge (horse) racing fan, but I thought it was pretty interesting to see two guys that are 5-feet tall fighting in the winner’s circle.”
THINGS MAKE YOU GO HMMM
During a first period stop in play, Habs fan is on the spectacular videoboard taking a three question challenge.
First question: Who’s the Habs captain? “Gomez!” blurts Habs fan. Wrong loser. It’s Gionta. “That’s like going to church and not being able to identify the Pope,” states Le Droit hockey writer extraordinaire Sylvain St-Laurent, who is also a new and proud pappa. Beautiful baby girl Lili and the lovely Genevieve are both doing fine, thanks ... Cammalleri started using white tape for his sticks when he turned pro. Why? “The white feels lighter to me, my hands feel quicker,” he said. “When I use black, I feel like a plugger.”
Signed to be a checker, veteran Jeff Halpern has never had 10 points so early in a season. Playing with Mathieu Darche and Benoit Pouliot, the new combination has been tabbed the “PHD Line.”
Said Halpern: “Darchie is the nerd of our group.” ... Speaking of PHD’s, the Senators secret weapon is at Princeton. Michael Sdao, the 6-foot-4, 220-lb. defenceman picked in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, is projected to be Ottawa’s sixth defenceman at some point. It’s also believed he’ll be one of the toughest players in the league.