When the Ottawa Senators announced last week that the team would be retiring Daniel Alfredsson’s number 11 it didn’t come as much of a surprise. He is the first player in the Sens modern era to have his number hoisted to the rafters, following Frank Finnigan as the only other Ottawa player to be memorialized in this way. Alfredsson retired as a Senator in December of 2014. Before the 2015 season, he joined the organization’s front office as the senior adviser of hockey operations, a position he recently committed to for the 2016-17 season.
Alfie is the all-time leader in a number of stat categories for the franchise. He is number one in goals (426), assists (682), points (1108), power-play goals (131), shorthanded goals (25), and hat-tricks (8), as well as being one game back of Chris Phillips for the franchise lead in games played (1178). He is also the franchise’s all-time playoff leader in games played (121), goals (51), assists (49), points (100), power-play goals (25) and game-winners (11). On top of all that, he is also the only Senators player to win the Calder Trophy, taking home the hardware after the 1995-96 season.
Through his 18 year NHL career, the sixth round pick from Gothenburg, Sweden had many memorable moments. In no particular order here are some of his best works as a Senator.
Win and We’re In
During the magical run to the Cup Final in 2007, Alfredsson lead the league in playoff goals (14), points (22), power-play goals (6) and game-winning-goals (4). The Sens beat the Penguins and Devils in the first and second round respectively by a 4-1 series win. Entering Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final Ottawa was looking to do the same. With the Senators up 3-1 in the series heading into HSBC Arena in Buffalo, the Sabres were ready to fight for their playoff lives.
With the game tied at two at the end of regulation, the teams may have been prepared for a protracted overtime battle. If they were, they forgot about Alfie.
That goal sent the Sens to their first Cup Final since 1927, when they won it all. Though the results weren’t exactly what Ottawa fans were hoping for once they got there, just getting to the Finals brought a new generation of Sens fans to the highest point of their franchise’s modern history.
#11 Gets Number 400
It is becoming more and more rare that a player spends his entire career with one team. Though Alfie didn’t quite manage that, he did score 426 of his 444 career goals as a Senator. Number 400 came in his 1094th game in Ottawa, playing at the Scotiabank Centre in front of a raucous home crowd.
How fitting that Erik Karlsson, the up and coming star for the team, assisted on Alfredsson’s 400th with the club.
The 1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs were momentous for the Senators as they won their first postseason series returning to the NHL in 1992. Up 2-1 in the series and down a goal with less than four minutes left in the first period, Alfredsson scored his first goal in what would be a natural hat trick. Midway through the second period he notched goal number two, and with five minutes gone in the third he completed the hat trick in front of the home crowd at the Corel Centre.
Those three goals were imperative, as the Devils stormed back scoring two more goals in the third. Jason York scored the fourth Ottawa goal of the night putting them out of reach.
During the 2007-08 season Alfie put up 40 goals for the second time in his career, adding 49 assists. He got three of those goals and four of those assists in one game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Alfredsson just missed out on adding himself to the short list of NHL players with eight points in a single game, but knowing Alfie he was just as happy to help his team win the game.
He Always Finds a Way
Whether it was with a slapshot or quick release, Alfredsson had the scoring touch throughout his career. Sometimes he would wind up and blast it past a netminder, others he would place it just out of reach.
Look at how quickly Alfie pivots and releases in one motion, putting the puck over J.S. Giguere’s shoulder. He rarely wasted such good opportunities, and sometimes made the chances for himself.
Again his hand-eye coordination is off the charts, kicking the puck over to his stick and rifling it home, top shelf.
Alfredsson will always be remembered as one of the greats in Senators history. Though the nickname Alfie is the one most recognize, some Ottawa fans refer to him simply as “God.” With the way hometown fans greeted a goal by the Sens captain in the 2012 All-Star Game, it would be hard to argue that Alfie wasn’t worshiped like one.
Which is his best moment? What did I miss? Next week I’ll be examining some of Alfie’s more infamous acts on the ice.
A young writer, called an old soul by some, a curmudgeon by others. I love most sports, and hate past times masquerading as them (I’m looking at you darts!)