The Ottawa Senators face the Detroit Red Wings for the first time as division rivals on Wednesday night, which is obviously why every Ottawa fans will be glued to the television and/or checking the box score and NOT because they’ll be experiencing a rush of emotions and/or psychological damage seeing franchise icon Daniel Alfredsson in an enemy uniform trying to defeat them.
This is going to be super awkward. Awkward for Alfie. Awkward for the Sens. Awkward for fans of both.
We all remember the drama in his leaving Ottawa for Detroit; our own Nick Cotsonika does a marvelous job looking back at Alfredsson’s decision and the tension that lingers heading into tonight in Detroit. Says Alfie:
“If I look back at my life right now, I don’t think I would have been the person I am if I hadn’t taken that chance. This is another stepping stone for me and my family to grow and experience new adventures.”
But what are Ottawa fans saying ahead of their first game with Daniel Alfredsson as the opponent?
And after a few months, there are some fans that will suggest, they are completely over it. But tonight, those feelings will be put to the test as the Senators pay a visit to the former face of the franchise. After 1,178 regular season games and another 121 playoff games, all in an Ottawa Senators uniform, Daniel Alfredsson suits up in the colours of another, and takes on his former team for the first time.
In the history of the Ottawa Senators, there has never been an issue quite as polarizing as the departure of the beloved Captain.
And a lot of that has to do with some inconsistent story telling from both sides on exactly what went down this summer. The reality is, somewhere during negotiations Alfredsson felt disrespected by the organization he had given so much to and decided it was time for a new challenge.
No matter how angry you may have been at that decision, it doesn’t change what he meant to this team, this franchise and this city.
As Ottawa Senators fans we’ve seen some cruddy player related stuff in our time. Supposed generational talent 1st overall pick flame outs, contract hold outs, star players left to walk for nothing, trade demands, hobos, sea captains, Jonathan Cheechoo. This one is different though.
Daniel Alfredsson was for nearly two decades the father figure of this still young franchise. He did 17 tours with the Sens and has done more for the team than anyone else in its history. Even up to last season’s playoffs he was a hero.
Given the past few years’ uncertainty surrounding his future, I’ve always said that if the time came toward the end of his career that if he wanted to get a good shot at the cup on another team, well, he doesn’t owe us a goddamn thing at this point and he’d have all the right in the world to.
Thing is when it actually happened I gotta say….rougher than I expected. I’m not going to get into the minutia of it all other than I think both sides are BSing a bit AND telling the truth a little bit. Melnyk lil cheap on the ol’ pay day, Alfie liiiittle hasty on the ol’ exit after giving every indication he’d resign. Which is actually a pretty good symbol of how I feel about him going into tonight: Him playing for another team changes nothing about what he did for the Sens buuuuuuuuut him playing for another team changes my attitude toward him.
He plays for another team now. I more or less hate all of the other teams and a highly skilled divisional rival well…I don’t care HOW nice those uniforms are. As for his plan, I don’t hope the Red Wings can win a cup for Alfie because I care about the Sens winning so much more than that.
This game on Wednesday night pops up at the perfect time in the schedule, because if the club can’t focus on sending a message to the Wings and the player they pilfered from the Sens, then perhaps this isn’t the club they thought they were.
… Being able to shut down Alfredsson and his new team would show that the Senators are indeed a team to be reckoned with and the slow start was a by-product of the weird schedule from the pre-season that carried over to the regular season.
Finally, from Silver Sevens:
“I love Daniel Alfredsson. I hate Eugene Melnyk.”
That’s what we call ‘round these parts the majority opinion.