Notebook: Alfredsson still gets opening night jitters, but they won’t match Ottawa native Methot’s

You might think that at age 40, with 1,132 games and parts of 17 NHL seasons under his belt, Daniel Alfredsson would be impervious to home opener jitters.

Notebook: Alfredsson still gets opening night jitters, but they won’t match Ottawa native Methot’s
Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators is admired by young fans during practice at the Bell Sensplex in Ottawa, January 20, 2013. Photo by Jean Levac/OTTAWA CITIZEN

You might think that at age 40, with 1,132 games and parts of 17 NHL seasons under his belt, Daniel Alfredsson would be impervious to home opener jitters.

And you’d be wrong, according to the captain.

“A little bit, of course you (feel nervous),” Alfredsson admitted. “Not knowing where you stand, it always brings some nerves into it, and it’s a game that means something, so that as well.

“But when you’ve played a long time, you also have a pretty good routine and know how to handle everything,” he explained after a 30-minute practice at the Bell Sensplex Sunday afternoon. “It’s a good amount of nervous.”

The Senators face off against the Florida Panthers in their first game of the compressed season Monday night at a sold-out Scotibank Place.

The anxiety level will be much higher for Ottawa native Marc Methot, who is finally making his first appearance at Scotiabank Place as part of the home team.

He was picked up in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets over the summer, then had to wait months to actually suit up while the league sorted out its collective bargaining mess.

“Ever since I’ve been in the NHL or even just drafted, going through junior, it’s always been a dream of mine to play here,” Methot said. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to play in their home town in front of people that you grew up around, especially (with) Ottawa being a hockey town?”

Methot had arranged tickets in the past for family and friends when he was on the visiting squad, but now that he’ll be appearing all the time, they’ll be fending for themselves.

“I know my dad’s buying a ton of tickets and people are kind of going to him for them, so he’s got a little business going,” Methot joked. “But no seriously though, I have a huge support group here and I’m looking forward to seeing them in the crowd.

ZIBANEJAD IMPROVING

While Mika Zibanejad was left off the Senators’ training camp roster due to a string of injuries, he wasn’t exactly lighting it up in the AHL before that.

Could things be turning around? He has now scored in two straight games and fired eight shots in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Bridgeport. If he can keep it up, he just might get himself in the conversation when the team next needs call-up from Bingo.

AK27 RETURNS

While Monday night’s game will mark a couple debuts on the Ottawa side, it will also feature the return of Alex Kovalev to the capital. Much maligned for poor efforts here, he nonetheless had an impressive start with the Florida Panthers over the weekend (one goal and two assists in a 5-1 win over Carolina). As Ottawa fans know well, however, consistency isn’t Kovalev’s strong suit.

ANDERSON STARTS

Craig Anderson will get his second consecutive start in goal for the Senators, and it couldn’t come against a better opponent for him. In nine career games against the Panthers, he has a 7-0-1 record and .932 save percentage. Robin Lehner will serve as the backup again.

Tags: ,

What do you think? Leave a comment