Alfredsson sits one out with hip injury
DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
RALEIGH - As it turned out, Daniel Alfredsson could not make it through the first month of the season without missing a game.
The good news for the Senators is, his back is fine.
Alfredsson did not make the trip to Carolina for Tuesday’s tilt with the Hurricanes because of a hip flexor that’s been giving him some trouble. He expects to be ready to roll Thursday, when the Senators host the Florida Panthers.
“The last four or five days, I started to feel it get a little weaker and weaker,” said the 38-year-old captain, whose career was almost ended by a back injury he finally had surgically repaired in the off-season. “It’s at a point where, I look after this now so it doesn’t become more of an issue, or I play and it could be longer time I miss later. I think if I get a few days here, I’ll be good to go Thursday.
“It’s just wear and tear. Felt it a little bit in the morning skate before the Winnipeg game (Oct. 20). During the games, once you get warm and the adrenaline, I don’t feel it much. But obviously the day after, it’s slowly been getting weaker and weaker.
“It’s nothing major and I want to keep it that way.”
To fill Alfredsson’s roster spot, the Senators have summoned 23-year-old winger Kaspars Daugavins from Bingamton.
Alfredsson says his back has given him no problems. In eight games, it’s been evident in his play. He has three goals, two assists and had a good jump in his step. He intercepted a Kris Russell clearing attempt — “you can’t pass through talent,” said coach Paul MacLean — to draw a penalty that started the Senators on a last -minute comeback win over the Blue Jackets Saturday.
“I’ve been surprised how good I felt on the ice, skating,” said Alfredsson. “It’s been a lot of fun so far, especially the last two games we’ve been able to win, and we played well. A lot of fun to be back at this level and contributing.
“I haven’t shot the puck as well as I would have liked. But I feel I can get from A to B in a reasonable time. That’s the biggest thing. I can get into battles, I can win loose pucks at times, that’s always been my game.”
The Senators will be looking for their first road win in their fourth try. To get it, they’ll need a game from goalie Craig Anderson and others to pick up the offensive slack.
For that, they’ll have to keep on doing what they’ve been doing, said Jason Spezza, who was on Monday named the NHL’s second star of the week for scoring three goals and four assists in three games.
“I think that’s one thing that’s been underrated,” said Spezza, who entered Monday as the league’s third-highest scorer with 11 points. “We’ve had a lot of guys going to the net, and sticking around the net this year. Maybe more than ever. (Chris Neil) has been there, (Colin) Greening’s been there, Nicky Foligno’s been there, Milan (Michalek) has scored a lot of goals from there ... there seems to be probably the best net presence we’ve had, and that helps the skilled guys from the outside a little bit.
“It’s been something I think that’s added a lot to our offence.”
As well, the Senators’ confidence received a jolt on Saturday when they became just the fourth team in 15 years to win a game in regulation time after trailing in the final minute of the third.
“Any time you win, it’s a good thing,” said MacLean. “I keep going back to building a foundation. It’s about winning. Any time you can do it, it’s a building block that you can go back to. Now we have a reservoir of two times we can go back to and realize how we won that game, how did we go about it, how did we approach each period ... what did we do that allowed us the opportunity to win the game? Now that you have those blocks you can go back on, I think your team becomes more confident that they can do it. The belief in what you’re trying to build becomes stronger.”