At least several times – and probably a lot more than that – Daniel Alfredsson has played when he was injured.
He was obviously ailing with back problems last season before he pulled the plug in February, and after the 2010 playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he revealed that he had played with a torn abdominal muscle that occurred at the end of the regular season.
So it was only reasonable to wonder whether he felt pressure to return sooner than he might have from the concussion he suffered in the second game of this playoff series.
He said no, even while raising subtle doubts.
“There’s too much (known) about concussions that speaks (to what can happen) if you’re not careful,” he said.
“Am I at 100 per cent? I don’t know. I feel 100 per cent.
“You just want to make sure that you feel you can handle being physical active, with a higher heart rate.
“And then mentally can you handle playing in a playoff game and expect to get hit, maybe in the head again?
“I think that’s what determines it.
“And there’s no timelines now. Everyone’s different, and every concussion is different. So you just have to go with the flow and individually you’ll know when you’re ready.”
And it wasn’t as if he was expecting that the Rangers would give him a soft landing.
“I think I will be targeted just like everybody else,” he said.
“I’m not going to put a stop sign on the back of my jersey.”
What’s clear about Alfredsson, though, as anyone who has watched him throughout his career, is that he has a high pain threshold, as well as great powers of recovery.
Remember that this is his second concussion this season. He missed five games after being hit by then-Ranger Wojtek Wolski in a game in October.
So his recovery, under the eyes of Dr. Mark Aubry, one of the world’s experts on concussions, was faster this time.
“Friday was the first day I started to feel better,” said Alfredsson.
“I rode the bike a little bit on Friday, and felt pretty good after that. And then I skated on Saturday morning, by myself here, and felt good after that, too. I felt a lot better than I did during the week, so I got pretty encouraged.”
THE ALFIE CHANT
The new tradition among Ottawa fans of chanting “Alfie, Alfie, Alfie” every time the clock hits 11:00 got a thumbs up from the captain.
“It’s obviously neat, and especially now when I was sitting at home and watching it on TV,” he said.
“It was neat to hear.
“I honestly don’t know what to make of it, but it’s definitely a nice gesture.”
RETRIBUTION FOR BOYLE
With Ranger centre Brian Boyle out with a concussion thanks to hit from Chris Neil in the third period of Saturday’s fifth game, the natural question on Monday morning was whether the Rangers would be seeking retribution, in much the same way the Senators sought retribution for Boyd’s attack on Erik Karlsson in the first game.
Neil wasn’t worried.
“That was last game — I’m only going to focus on tonight, so I’m not going to comment on it,” he said.
“I’m not going to worry about that — I’m just going to go out and play. That’s what I do.
“Obviously the league thought it was clean. Whenever I go and finish checks, that’s what I try to do.”
Neil said he hadn’t even seen the comments Ranger coach John Tortorella made after Saturday’s game, when he likened Neil’s hit to Raffi Torres’ hit on Marian Hossa.
“I haven’t seen it — I don’t watch you guys,” said Neil.
“Whenever there’s an off day I shut the TV off and focus on my kids.”