Senators coach Cory Clouston said he expects Daniel Alfredsson will play tonight in Toronto but still called the captain a game-time decision against the Leafs.
Alfredsson has been battling an undisclosed lower-body injury and wasn't on the ice for the pregame skate this morning.
"It's getting better today, for sure," Alfredsson said. "Obviously not good enough to go on the ice this morning but hopefully by tonight it's good enough that I can play."
For a guy approaching his 38th birthday, Alfredsson is still in remarkable shape and remarkably healthy. He has only missed 50 games the past nine seasons and sits ranked 21st among active players in career games played (1,013) and sixth in career points (1,004).
Alfredsson has also been the top Senator by a mile this season, with 12 points in 11 games, double the output of his next highest scoring teammate.
He has had and continues to have a remarkable career despite being a relatively obscure sixth-round pick back in 1994, drafted as a 21-year-old before making an immediate impact in winning the Calder Trophy two years later.
More than any other player, Alfredsson also gets a not-so-warm welcome at the Air Canada Centre from Leafs fans, a result of the rivalry between the two teams. But he has at least one friend on the team in winger Freddy Sjostrom, who lives in the same city and trains with the Sens captain every summer.
Sjostrom is about 10 years younger than Alfredsson and, despite being a high draft pick, has bounced around quite a bit in his career. He said Alfredsson is as down to earth a person as he's met in the league.
"Very smart but really friendly," he said. "No superstar-ness there."
Sjostrom added that he marvels at the career his friend has had.
"Sick player," he said. "One of the best Swedish ones there is. He a tremendous athlete. I've seen him workout over the years, and he's built like a 25-year-old. He takes care of his body and is always in good shape so I'm sure he can play for a lot more years."
Sjostrom added that he thinks Alfredsson may just do that – despite the fact some expect he may retire after next season due to the way his contract is structured.
"He likes Ottawa so much, I'm sure he'll keep going," Sjostrom said.
Neil responds to McGrattan
At the tail end of media availability this afternoon in Toronto, Senators winger Chris Neil was asked about critical comments from former teammate Brian McGrattan, who is now in the Bruins organization.
In Saturday's 4-0 Boston shutout of the Sens on the weekend, Neil had a fight with Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg, not a noted tough guy, which drew criticism from McGrattan.
“That’s typical Chris Neil," he told Boston.com. "I had to protect that guy for three years when I was there. He’d do that and I’d have to fight all his battles for him the next time we’d play a team after he’d do something stupid like that. It doesn’t surprise me.’’
Neil didn't have anything negative to offer in response to McGrattan, however.
"I'm sure he's trying to get into the lineup," Neil said. "I have nothing bad to say about the guy."
Quick thought on coach Ron Wilson's choice of J-S Giguere in goal: It's interesting that the Leafs are using their No. 1 tonight and likely throwing Jonas Gustavsson in tomorrow against the high-powered Capitals. That's a very tough team, on the road, and as the second game in a back-to-back.
If he gets that game, three of Gustavsson's first four starts so far this season will have been difficult road games, as he's already faced Boston and Pittsburgh in their buildings (and played well). Something to keep an eye on.
Caputi - Bozak - Kessel MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin Versteeg - Brent - Brown Sjostrom - Hanson - Orr
Beauchemin - Phaneuf Kaberle - Schenn Gunnarsson - Komisarek
Foligno - Fisher - Alfredsson Regin - Spezza - Kovalev Neil - Kelly - Ruutu Smith - Shannon - Winchester
Gonchar - Phillips Campoli - Carkner Hale - Karlsson