The Ottawa Senators’ greatest player is about to officially move into the NHL coaching ranks.
Daniel Alfredsson will be behind the Ottawa Senators bench for the first time on Thursday as the Sens face the Detroit Red Wings. And it’s not just any game. It’s a rare game being played in Sweden, Alfredsson’s home country, and his debut will be against the team he closed his career out with.
“I’ll be nervous, but it’s going to be fun,” Alfredsson told TSN 1200 radio. “I talked to the coaching staff, and they asked me if I would like to join them. I guess I’ve done a decent enough job that they trust me.”
Alfredsson will also be behind the bench for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild, which is also in Stockholm. Smith spoke earlier in the week about what the Hall of Famer brings.
“(Alfie) loves the Ottawa Senators,” head coach D.J. Smith told the media. “He’s been on the ice, working with guys like Tim Stutzle – guys in a similar position. Ultimately, what you find out about him is how competitive he is. For him to be able to come home and be a part of this, it’s going to mean something to him, but I know the guys are going to want to play for him as well.”
Alfredsson recently signed on with the Senators in a coaching and development role, but this will be his first coaching involvement in an actual NHL game. And the players cannot say enough good things about getting a chance to work with Alfie on the ice.
“(Alfie’s) been awesome,” Sens defenceman Erik Brannstrom told the media. “He knows hockey better than anyone, probably. He gives us small things to think about in the game. He sees the game well. He’s a legend in Ottawa and here in Sweden, too, so it’s really fun to have him on the trip.”
Alfredsson is Ottawa’s all-time leader in goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108). He played one final season with the Detroit Red Wings before retiring in 2014.