Alfie's still got game

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson jokes around as he and Peter Regin skate Friday at the Bell...

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson jokes around as he and Peter Regin skate Friday at the Bell Sensplex. It was Alfie's first on-ice session since returning from Sweden.

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

OTTAWA - Don’t worry, Senators fans, it appears Daniel Alfredsson’s skills are intact.

 

Back on the ice at the Bell Sensplex Friday for the first time since returning to Ottawa from Sweden, the Senators captain made it look like child’s play as he toyed with Shane Prince and Andre Petterson during a game of keepaway.

As hard as they tried to take the puck away from the 39-year-old Alfredsson, he dangled around the two Senators prospects and they learned they’ve got a long way to go if they’re going to beat him, even if his career is winding down.

He has no regrets about returning for another season.

“For me, the decision to come back was physical and a bit mental, but more physical than anything,” said Alfredsson, who played 75 games last season.

“I have a lot of fun on the ice. There’s no question, I love the game.

“Last year was very encouraging for me in how I skated and I think I can improve on that. The main thing for me is staying healthy. Last year I missed one game because of a hip flexor and not counting the concussions. That’s pretty good when you’re older. If I can maintain that, I’d be really happy.”

Alfredsson delayed his return to the ice in Ottawa because he has been nursing a minor quad injury, but it is nothing that has discouraged him from training.

“I knew I would be (excited) if I could handle the summer training,” said Alfredsson. “I’ve had some minor injuries in the summer, but nothing worse. I’m probably a little bit behind schedule from where I would like to be.

“But I think a month from now I’ll be caught up with that. This is the first time I’ve skated in a while and I felt really good.”

Like everybody else, Alfredsson has been keeping an eye on the talks for a new CBA between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association. He isn’t making any predictions about a lockout because he’s not sure what will happen.

“I don’t knoe if I can put a percentage on how optimistic I am,” he said. “It is a tough negotiation but I don’t think we’ll have a clear picture until next week comes. Everybody knows if we go to (Sept. 15) and there’s not a deal, we know what’s going to happen. Next week is going to be crucial.”

A former union VP, Alfredsson has backed off and doesn’t have a seat in the boardroom for negotiations. He has stayed informed and will be among a group of more than 200 players at NHLPA meetings next week in New York and will play a role in talks now that he’s returned from Sweden.

“I would be more involved if it wasn’t for four kids at home,” said Alfredsson. “We really wanted to go back to Sweden this summer and I don’t think I could have been there just part-time. I’ll stay more involved now that I’m over here.

“Every CBA is important. Everybody has seen the game grow on and off the ice the last seven years. It’s in everybody’s best interests not to lose the momentum and make the most of it. Anytime you have a big negotiation and there’s a lot of money involved it won’t be easy.”

After the Senators defied the odds and made the playoffs last season, Alfredsson is excited about getting back to work.

“(Former Senators coach) Jacques (Martin) used to always say, ‘You can’t worry about the things you can’t control’ and there’s a lot of people that love the game, watch the game, work around it and are depending on this. Both sides feel it’s important to get it right and that’s why it is complicated,” said Alfredsson.

Alfredsson will stay ready playing keepaway. Will he hang up his skates when the Senators find a rookie who can beat him?

“Then I’ll never quit,” Alfredsson said with a smile.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before No. 11 and his teammates are playing meaningful games.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca 


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