Alfie's a Messier, Sens GM says

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Daniel Alfredsson's leadership has long been called into question by Ottawa hockey fans.

Not any more.

Senators general manager John Muckler said his captain stands right up with the best leader he has seen in his hockey life -- former Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers great Mark Messier.

Alfredsson has been the club's MVP through the first three rounds of the playoffs. If the Senators are able to knock off the Anaheim Ducks in the Cup final and Alfredsson continues to lead the way, there will be no denying him the Conn Smythe trophy as the post-season MVP.

"I've coached some good leaders in the league, and one was Mark Messier," Muckler said yesterday. "The way Alfredsson is leading this hockey club is on par with (Messier)."

Muckler declared the best move he has made since coming to Ottawa was signing Alfredsson to a lifetime contract in 2004.

"(That) was one of, actually it wasn't one of, it was the best move I've ever made as general manager in Ottawa as far as I'm concerned," Muckler said.

"(Alfredsson) was looking for security. We could give that to him. Everybody knows our community is not large and (Alfredsson) has been so helpful. He wanted to be (with the Senators) the rest of his career and we were happy to oblige him. He's been a tremendous leader."

It's all legal

Senators coach Bryan Murray was joking again that he had to complain to the league about the equipment Anaheim goaltender J.S. Giguere wears, but he's not the only one wondering. Reporters were asking questions and opponents have long complained about the size of his padding, but Giguere came to his own defence and insisted the gear's not as big as it used to be.

"My equipment is 14% smaller. That was what happened back when they decided to shrink the equipment," Giguere said. "We're all in the same boat. We all play with the same equipment. You know, a company isn't just allowed to send you equipment that's not legal. It's got to go to the league before it gets to you. As a goalie, you've got to pick your equipment wisely. You have to pick equipment that's going to fit your style and what you play."

Teemu Selanne, one of Giguere's teammates, said the goalies need to be downsized some more because there's not much room in the net. "They're still way too big," Selanne said. "You have to have the perfect shot to beat those guys these days."

Murray took a mild shot at Giguere before leaving the podium: "If we can get his equipment in order, everything will be fine with him."

Off the glass

The Senators didn't do anything special after arriving at their Anaheim hotel late Saturday. Most of the players went for dinner and tried to get their bodies adjusted to the time difference. With the game to start at about 8 p.m. Ottawa time, nobody is worried they're going to get sleepy late in the game. "Most of our team doesn't sleep before midnight anyway," Alfredsson said ... Senators centre Jason Spezza, who was 14 when the Montreal Canadiens won the Cup in 1993, said it would be nice to bring the title back to Canada. "We're hockey historians also," Spezza said. "Playing for a Canadian team, you see the passion for the game year-round and see the disappointment by people when we do lose. Having the opportunity to bring a Cup back to Canada and become Canada's team is definitely another driving reason for us to try to win" ... NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will hold a news conference today. The future of the Nashville Predators will be discussed after Blackberry billionaire Jim Balsillie made a deal to purchase the club last week. There has been speculation he may try to move the club to Kitchener-Waterloo.


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