Boston wants Alfredsson, but Alfredsson happy in Ottawa

BOSTON – Apparently, it was only a coincidence that U2 was blaring inside the Boston Bruins dressing room as Bruins players extolled the virtues of Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson Thursday morning.

BOSTON – Apparently, it was only a coincidence that U2 was blaring inside the Boston Bruins dressing room as Bruins players extolled the virtues of Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson Thursday morning.

While Alfredsson’s favourite band was playing in the background, Boston media was hot on the two-week old speculation that the Senators captain could be traded here before the trade deadline.

Rugged winger Milan Lucic says he would love to have Alfredsson on his team. Former Senator Chris Kelly went on about his leadership abilities.

Even Bruins coach Claude Julien politely answered the queries about Alfredsson, saying he “deserves all the accolades” he receives.

An hour later, however, Alfredsson insisted that being traded out of Ottawa was the furthest thing from his mind, even though he understood why it is such a huge topic here.

“For sure, there have been the rumours about Boston going on for more than a week,” he said. “I’m fine with it, too, but my focus isn’t anywhere near that right now. I haven’t talked to Bryan (Murray, Senators general manager) about it at all.”

Alfredsson did allow that post-season competition is what drives him.

“To get into the playoffs, that’s what everybody wants. I’m not saying that means I want to move. That’s just the way it is.”

KELLY REMEMBERS SURVIVING INJURIES IN OTTAWA: Once upon a time, the skate was on the other foot for Chris Kelly. Kelly, who usually played the role of defensive centre with the Senators from 2005-11, was elevated into first-line status when stars Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley suffered long-term injuries.

Now, from afar, he has been impressed with the Senators ability to withstand the long-term losses of Spezza to back disc surgery, defenceman Erik Karlsson to Achilles tendon surgery and the assortment of other ailments, including the sprained ankle suffered by Craig Anderson on Feb. 22.

“You lose your goaltender, arguably your best forward and your best defenceman, you’ve got to give them credit for getting some points,” said Kelly. “It’s a testament to them, finding ways to win games, whether it’s in overtime or in the shootout or by one goal.”

Kelly does remember the attitude inside the Senators dressing room when he was part of a team that didn’t give in, despite a long injury list.

“When I look back to then, everyone realized the important guys were out and you had to do a little bit more. Sometimes, you;’re not going to win by three or four goals, you’re going to win 1-0 or 2-1. They’re doing that right now.”

When the players do return, Kelly says, they’ll have to accept the system that’s in place.

“It was a collective group effort and when you’ve got guys coming when they’re healthy, they’ve got to buy in or they’re going to look poor.”

Julien echoed that, saying the ability to play through injuries appeals to players’ competitiveness.

“There’s a sense of pride that comes through that,” he said. “It solidifies the fact that it’s a team game and no individual is bigger than the team”

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Paul MacLean’s decision to start Robin Lehner seemingly caught the Bruins off guard.

On Thursday morning, Julien raved about the Senators goaltending tandem of Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop, saying “they’re an unbelievable tandem right now and that (Bishop) did make a big difference last game.”

Kelly quipped about how difficult it was to create traffic in front of Bishop.

“He’s a big guy, like that big goalie in Tampa (Anders Lindback). Those big guys take up a lot of the net. You can say you want to stand in front of them, but I think the only one who could screen him would be Z.” That would be 6-9, 255-pound Zdeno Chara.

IN RASK THEY TRUST: While the appearance of Lehner in the Senators might have surprised the Bruins, the appearance of Tuukka Rask in the Bruins cage was a new look for Ottawa. In the Senators previous 11 games in Boston, Tim Thomas had donned the pads.

With the former Bruin now in hibernation, the Bruins have few complaints about the work of Rask. Rask came into Thursday’s game with a record of 10-1-2, a goals against average of 1.89 and a .930 save percentage.

“It’s a big challenge for him, taking on a big role, especially with what Timmy has done in the past five, six years here, especially the last four, two Vezinas and a Conn Smythe,” said Lucic. “Those were big shoes to fill, but Tuukka has a lot of confidence in himself and his game and we have a lot of confidence in him, too. it’s great to see him step up and play the way that he has been. It will be interesting to see how he recats to the first time against the Senators at home for a long, long time. It has been Tim Thomas against the Seantors for a long, long time here.”

Even Lehner is a fan.

“I’ve followed him for a few years and I consider him a really good goalie,” said Lehner. “He’s been doing a little bit of the same as all goalies, like I’ve been doing. He was in the AHL for a few years and then up in the NHL behind a great goalie in Thomas. I don’t think Thomas was necessarily better than him, but it’s just part of the process. Every game I’ve seen him play, he has been very good.”

 

 

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