Senators Christmas notes package

Hockey players have to deal with some hectic travel around the holidays, but there’s one scheduling gift they don’t take for granted.

Senators Christmas notes package
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Hockey players have to deal with some hectic travel around the holidays, but there’s one scheduling gift they don’t take for granted.

They aren’t playing on Christmas Day like their NBA counterparts.

The Senators arrived back in Ottawa from their Nashville trip at 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve and get right back to work on Boxing Day, but at least the 25th is still about spending time with family and friends.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson said he would definitely vote against any attempt to change that.

“Obviously, they can say it’s lucrative and you get a lot of viewers, you’ll make money on it,” he said.

“But Christmas is Christmas is Christmas,” he continued. “We play so many games and miss so much…I don’t want to miss Christmas too.”

Alfredsson said the topic came up when he was more involved with the players’ association, but it didn’t get a lot of traction.

Winger Ryan Shannon said it’s important for families to have this time together.

“My mother would be heartbroken if I couldn’t make it back,” he said.

ADVANTAGE, SENATORS

On the surface, it was a little surprising that the Senators were able to leave Music City with a 2-1 win. They’d lost three of four to the Predators, a team that has dominated Eastern Conference squads over the past couple of years and plays especially tough at home.

On the other hand, the Preds were also dealing with all the distractions that come with the season.

Alfredsson argued it’s actually an advantage to be traveling ahead of Christmas.

“Obviously a lot of people have family coming in, it’s a hectic household, so it’s not a bad thing to be on the road,” he said.

“It’s more the game after Christmas (that’s a challenge), I find, where you have to get back into it from relaxing for two days.”

BIG PLANS

Alfredsson celebrates at home on the 24th with a buffet dinner in the early afternoon.

“Once we’re done that, it’s usually just, when dark sets in, Santa comes knocking on the door and hands out presents,” he said. “Then you have a cocktail or two.”

The schedule worked out perfectly for centre Mike Fisher, who stayed in Nashville with wife Carrie Underwood, but it can be quite hectic for players who don’t spend the holiday in Ottawa.

Shannon, for example, had a whirlwind tour planned that would take him home to Connecticut for Christmas Eve and on to Long Island for an extended family dinner on the 25th. He was then scheduled to hop a flight back to Ottawa on Christmas night so he would be back at work Sunday morning.

Alex Kovalev, a pilot who gave Shannon a lift home in his airplane last season, wasn’t revealing anything about his plans.

“I’m not telling you guys,” he sneered. “It’ll be well spent.”

Merry Christmas to you too, Kovie!

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