Well folks, the time has come. The Ottawa Senators and Daniel Alfredsson will both be on the same ice surface, but on opposing teams. As a 17 year old, the Senators’ first 8 games this season were the first I had ever experienced without Alfredsson on the team. Seeing him play against his former team will be strange for every Senators (and hockey) fan.
(3-3-2, 8 points) 6th Atlantic Division
(6-3-1, 13 points) 1st Atlantic Division
7:30 pm, Joe Louis Arena
TV: TSN; Radio: TSN1200
It’s been over 2 years since these two teams have faced each other. Last year, teams only played within their conference to save time on traveling to allow them to play very tight schedules. We have to go back to both teams’ season opener in 2011-12. This game was similar to tonight’s matchup. It was Paul MacLean‘s first game coaching against the Red Wings after 6 years of serving as an assistant coach. It was also Paul Maclean’s NHL head coaching debut. The Senators fell 5-3 in this last matchup.
The Senators are looking to bounce back after a 3-1 loss to the Oilers in what should have been an easy win. It’s pretty difficult to make Devan Dubnyk look like an all-star, but they managed to do it. The Red Wings lost their last game, in what was one of the closest games you’ll ever see. They lost 1-0 to the San Jose Sharks in the shootout.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Pavel Datsyuk, DET – Pavel Datsyuk is arguably the best player in the game today, so when he’s playing, you’d better be ready for a show. He pulls off moves that no one had even thought of before, not to mention the ones that seemed impossible from the moment he stepped into an opponent’s zone. Expect to have your jaw dropped a few times before the game is over.
Bobby Ryan, OTT – Ryan was brought in to replace Alfredsson’s on-ice production, which he has done for the most part. Ryan is second on the team in goals and points, behind Jason Spezza. His transition to the Kyle Turris line has provided balance that other teams have to pay attention to.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Alfie – Obviously Daniel Alfredsson playing against the Senators for the first time is the biggest storyline among the media, fans and the players. However there is still a game to play, and an important 2 points on the line.
2. Mika – Demoted at the end of training camp, Mika Zibanejad should finally get into an NHL lineup for the first time this season. Here’s hoping he sticks to his game and doesn’t try to do too much.
3. Divisional Contest – This game also marks the first time that the Red Wings have ever played the Senators in a divisional game. The Wings are already 5 points up on the Senators (albeit with 2 more games played), but in a playoff race that is anticipated to go down to the wire, even two points this early in the season are vital.
Alfredsson spent 18 years in Ottawa, and although some people are sick of the storyline already, it is something that has to be paid attention to and recognized. And if you are one of those people who are sick of it, you might want to go on holidays the last week of November, because the hoopla now is nothing in comparison to what you will see in a month, and the week leading up to Alfredsson’s first game in Ottawa as a Red Wing.