Slump hits Alfie hard

(QMI Agency files)

(QMI Agency files)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:44 PM ET

Daniel Alfredsson was fresh off his 38th birthday celebration Sunday morning.

The captain hasnt had a lot to smile about lately.

But after starting the party by having breakfast with his family Saturday and enjoying a quiet day at home, hes now ready to focus on the task at hand: Getting himself and the Senators back on track.

His career-high pointless streak has now reached 10 games as the Senators prepare to host the Atlanta Thrashers Monday.

Its always worse when youre not winning, said Alfredsson. Its not something I can force. Youre conscious about it. I feel like Im going in the right direction and we are as a team.

Weve played some really solid games of late, if we can continue that, Im pretty confident that Im going to get going myself.

Alfredsson said his struggles mirror those of his team. He has been playing on a line with Mike Fisher and Nick Foligno. Theyve been getting chances, just not converting enough of them.

Cory Clouston has no issues with Alfredssons effort.

Hes had a lot of opportunities, said the coach. Hes helping out the penalty kill. That line is playing well. Obviously, hes got to put some pucks in

the net. But his game isnt that bad. Hes been playing well. He has been working hard. Now its just a matter of burying his chances.

Clouston is shocked that Alfredssons slump has lasted this long.

Its a surprise because he has played well, said Clouston. If you had asked me and he was playing poorly, then it wouldnt be as big a surprise.

Despite Alfredssons struggles, he still leads the team in scoring with eight goals and 10 assists in 31 games. The Senators are 8-4-0 this season when Alfredsson scores.

When a guy Alfredssons age doesnt score, the whispers begin that hes old and lost a step. Nobody believes thats the case here.

Alfredsson, however, is well aware he must step up. I know I can be better. If I can be better, then the team wins more. It goes hand-in-hand, he said.

Not winning bothers me and honestly I take more responsibility when Im not scoring. Im one of the guys that is supposed to do it. Its been a tough stretch and thats not just because of me not scoring.

The Senators know this is hard on Alfredsson.

Hes a guy who prides himself on his numbers, said Clouston. But he also prides himself on other areas of the game. Right now, we appreciate the other things that he does.

We do eventually need him to start scoring ... Hes playing hard, smart and well. The numbers will come.

They cant come soon enough for Alfredsson or the Senators.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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