HE has been the lifeblood of the Senators pretty much since he was a rookie. There have been ups and downs in his career, and he wasn’t always the most loved player. There was a time when he was considered what was wrong with the club and many fans wanted him out of Ottawa. However, since the lockout, Daniel Alfredsson has been the face of the franchise and has become a respected leader around the league. Here is my countdown of Daniel Alfredsson’s top 10 moments, not from his perspective, but from a fan’s (mine). And because he is ALFIE, he gets a bonus one, so here is Daniel Alfredsson’s Top 11 Moments!
11. June 26, 2008 – A Religion is Born
That date will go down in infamy, when after years of professing his faith in the captain, Team 1200 Ottawa morning show host Steve Warne uttered the words that started a revolution in Ottawa – The Church Of Alfie. Within minutes a brilliant mind (yours truly) started a group on Facebook as the official site of the Church of Alfie, which was then endorsed by the leader, Steve Warne. Over the last almost 3 years, there have been numerous members of the congregation, (which numbers over 2,300 today) and Alfredsson became even more of a cult hero. The term “Praise Alfie” became a part of Sens Army vernacular on that very day.
10. 2005-06 – The 100 Point Season
The 2005-06 season was one for the ages for the Senators captain. The year was capped off with Alfredsson setting career highs in goals, assists and points. He tied with Dany Heatley in points, becoming the first Senators’ players to ever reach the exclusive 100 point club.
9. 1997 – First Playoff Season
The long-struggling Senators finally broke into the post-season in 1997, and it was Alfredsson who led the club in scoring that first playoff season, scoring the winner in two of Ottawa’s three wins against the Sabres. They lost to the Sabres in 7 games, but served notice that the club was finally a legitimate team and it also started a run of 12 consecutive post-season appearances for the Senators.
8. 1999 – A Captain We Could Finally Be Proud Of
After suffering through the Alexei Yashin era of selfish and egocentricity, his refusal to honor his contract opened the door to strip him of the captain’s “C”. The Senators named Daniel Alfredsson as the 7th captain in team history. Some questioned the decision, as Alfie was a quiet, unassuming individual, and there was still an anti-European bias at the time. Fast forward more than 11 years later, and he currently is the longest serving captain in the NHL, and Ottawa fans couldn’t (and don’t want to) imagine what it would have been like had it happened any differently.
7. 2004 – The Booing In Toronto Begins
When discussing the exact moment when Alfredsson became Mr. Ottawa Senator, many would point to the moment he became public enemy #1 in Toronto. Just a day after Mats Sundin was suspended for one game for throwing the butt end of his broken stick into the stands, Daniel Alfredsson’s stick was split in half on a shot. In a mocking gesture, he feinted throwing it into the stands, right in the Toronto Maple Leafs own arena. Leafs fans have never forgotten the incident and Alfredsson is showered with “Boos” every time he touches the puck in the ACC.
6. 2002 – Destroying Darcy
Another feather in Alfie’s legendary cap is the night that Alfie caught Leafs pest Darcy Tucker with a shoulder to shoulder (from a Sens fan perspective, but perhaps a nudge from behind) hit, which caused a turnover, after which Alfredsson stole the puck and proceeded to score the game 5 winner, giving the Sens a 3-2 series lead. They would eventually choke the series away again, but the vision of Ottawa’s captain getting away with one by putting the hated Tucker into the boards was sweet, the OT winner even sweeter.
5. 2010 – The 1,000th Game, All With Ottawa
There are now 264 players who have played 1000 or more games in the NHL. Of those players, only 23 have managed to play their entire careers with a single franchise. On April 10, 2010, Daniel Alfredsson became the first player in Senators history to play 1000 games with the franchise. The feat marked a turning point in Sens lore as is offered a legitimate slice of history that the Senators didn’t previously possess.
4. 1995-96 – Calder Calls
Not very much was expected of the Senators 5th rd selection (133rd overall) in the 1994 draft. However, Daniel Alfredsson came to camp and earned a roster spot the following season, going on to lead all NHL rookies with 25 goals and 61 points. He earned a spot in the All-Star game, named to the All-Rookie team and the season was culminated with Alfredsson being named the winner of the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. It was the first, and to date, last major award winner for a playing member of the Ottawa Senators franchise (Jacques Martin won Coach of the Year in 1998-99).
3. 2007 – Slaying the Sabres
Perhaps the biggest goal in the Legend’s life came on May 19th, 2007, which was game 5 of the Conference Finals against the Buffalo Sabres. Nearing the mid-way point of the first overtime period, Alfredsson took a pass at the centre red ling and carried it into the Buffalo zone. Amid 4 blue jerseys, he took a quick wrist shot His shot from the slot eluded Ryan Miller and sent the Senators farther than they had ever been – the Stanley Cup Finals.
2. 2010 – The 1,000th point
The Buffalo Sabres were another focal point of Alfie’s career on Oct 22, 2010 when Daniel Alfredsson put his third goal of the night into an empty net. The goal was his 1,000th career NHL point, obviously all with the Senators. Only 78 players have reached the 1,000 point mark, with only about 16 to do it with one franchise. Another legendary moment in Senators history authored by #11.
1. 2006 – Striking Gold
The greatest moment to date in the Captain’s career unfortunately didn’t happen for the Senators. With Canada already out of contention, Sens fans had to cling to the silver lining of seeing their captain get the ultimate glory, winning Olympic Gold for his native Sweden. A bitter-sweet moment for Sens and Canada fans, but Alfie fans were elated that he was able to experience a thrill that could only be eclipsed by hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Many of these moments and many more can be seen in this video:
So there is my Top 11 Daniel Alfredsson moments. There are three more that I would like to add to the list in the next 5-7 years or so, the first being a Stanley Cup, which I wouldn’t put past him. The second will be having his number retired and raised to the rafters, which is a given. The third would be enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is a very real possibility given the standards he has set for this club and the community.
There is only one thing left to say….PRAISE ALFIE!
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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