Though he last played with the Detroit Red Wings, Daniel Alfredsson will be forever remembered as the face of the Ottawa Senators. Before he officially skates on NHL ice for the last time tonight, we look back at the ten greatest moments of his career.
Whether he makes it into the Hockey Hall of Fame or not, Daniel Alfredsson will always be remembered as the face of the Ottawa Senators.
He quickly became one of the league’s stars and, nearly two decades later as he prepares to hang up his skates for a final time, Alfredsson has made countless highlight reels and been the centerpiece of many of Ottawa’s greatest moments. Here are the top ten Alfredsson moments from what was an outstanding career:
10. Calder Trophy season
On a dreadful Ottawa Senators team in 1995-96, Alfredsson was the lone bright spot. His rookie campaign was one of the greatest the league has seen, especially considering that he was selected in the sixth round of the 1994 draft and the expectations for him weren’t tremendously high.
On a team that had already gone bust with first-overall draft pick Alexander Daigle, Alfredsson gave the Senators franchise hope. Just five seasons after entering the league, Alfredsson was named captain of the Senators after the team stripped Alexei Yashin of the captaincy.
9. All-Star Game ovation
Had this not been an All-Star Game and had it not been two seasons before his career came to an end, this may have been higher on the list, but the moment was special, nevertheless.
During the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa, Alfredsson’s career was believed to be winding down, if not in the home stretch. In an effort to honor the team’s greatest player, Senators fans packed the building and, when he scored a highlight reel goal (which goals aren’t in the All-Star Game?), the fans on hand gave him a rousing ovation.
Play was momentarily halted and the players on the ice joined in, helping give ‘Alfie’ one of his finest send-offs.
8. Seven point night – Jan. 24, 2008
It seems fitting that one of Alfredsson’s greatest offensive nights came in the latter half of his career because, like many of the greats, the Swede seemed to get better with age.
On a Thursday night late in January of the 2007-08 season, Alfredsson accomplished something he would never repeat, and something no other Senator has done in the several seasons since: he tallied three goals and seven points in an 8-4 romping of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The goals were the 30th, 31st, and 32nd in what would be his second greatest offensive season of his career, as he racked up 40 goals and 89 points over the course of 70 games.
Not only did he score a hat trick, he did it in almost every manner possible: his first game at even-strength, his second on the power play, and he completed the hat trick with a short-handed goal just minutes into the second period. If it weren’t for a Jason Spezza tally coming between Alfredsson’s first and second goals, it also would have been a natural hat trick for the then 35-year-old.
7. ‘Alfie! Alfie! Alfie!’
In the first period of game four of the 2006-07 Eastern Conference Semi Final matchup between the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators, Alfredsson had a moment that was made for the silver screen.
As the Senators captain stepped on the ice just over four minutes into the game, he laid a hit on a Devils defenseman before the puck was moved down into the corner. The puck got moved out of the Devils zone into neutral ice, but the Senators were quickly attacking once again.
Chants of ‘Aflie! Alfie! Alfie!’ rose throughout what was then known as Scotiabank Place. With the puck on Dany Heatley’s stick behind the Devils goal, Alfredsson moved into a bit of open ice and quickly one-timed the puck past Martin Brodeur. The Senators went on to win the series in five games, en route to their first and only Stanley Cup Final appearance:
6. Sweden wins Olympic gold
While Alfredsson may never have been able to climb the mountain in the NHL, he’s been part of several spectacular international squads, including the 2006 Swedish Olympic team that captured the gold medal in Turin, Italy.
Over the course of the tournmanet, Alfredsson was one of the top scorers, registering five goals and five assists. In the gold medal match, Alfredsson would fail to pick up any points, but he was one of the key cogs on a team that took home the top honors at the Olympics.
5. Battle of Ontario: Tucker down, Alfredsson scores
During the heat of the rivalry, there was nothing quite like the Battle of Ontario. The Toronto Maple Leafs became the bitter rival of the successful Senators squad, and there is no greater moment that captures the essence of the rivalry than the hit by Alfredsson on Darcy Tucker.
With just over two minutes remaining in the 2002 Eastern Conference Semi Final and the puck careening around the boards, Alfredsson caught Toronto’s Darcy Tucker with an extremely questionable hit. The jolt went uncalled and, with Tucker laying on the ice injured, Alfredsson drove to the net, received a pass, and potted what would stand as the game winner.
The Maple Leafs would ultimately get revenge, winning the series in seven games.
4. A hat trick for point 1,000
On Oct. 22, 2010, Daniel Alfredsson became only the 75th player in the history of the NHL to register 1,000 points. And, as was custom, he did it with style.
That night in October, as the Senators took on the Buffalo Sabres, Alfredsson reached the milestone by registering a hat trick, the third goal coming on an empty net attempt late in the third period.
Alfredsson will finish his career as 51st all-time in NHL scoring with 1,157 points.
3. Return to Ottawa
After 17 seasons in Ottawa, Alfredsson left for Detroit to try and take one last shot at winning a Stanley Cup.
On Dec. 1, 2013, Alfredsson returned to Ottawa for the first time as an opposing player and was met with one of the most sensational ovations any player has ever received. The fans saluted their former captain, as did the team with a touching tribute to his career as a Senator.
Almost a year to the day later, Alfredsson signed his one-day contract with the team, becoming a member of the Senators to retire with the team that drafted him.
2. 400th goal an overtime winner
There are only 90 players in the history of the game that have registered 400 goals, and Alfredsson can count himself amongst them.
In a season that had already seen the legendary Senator tally his 1,000th point, he also managed his 400th goal just months later. Much like his 1,000th point, Alfredsson made sure that his next major milestone came at the most opportune time.
On the power play in overtime of a game against the visiting Calgary Flames, the longtime Senators leader took a pass from Erik Karlsson – the player who would succeed Alfredsson as captain – and blasted it home:
1. Alfredsson sends the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup Final
There is no moment that represents just how much Alfredsson was the leader of the Senators than his effort in helping Ottawa to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007. The goal itself will be one that Senators fans remember forever.
Already up three games to one in the Eastern Conference Final, Alfredsson took a backhand pass from Heatley in the neutral zone, and he did the rest himself:
For those keeping score at home, Alfredsson split three defenders before slapping the puck past Ryan Miller. The overtime victory sent the Senators to their first, and only, Stanley Cup Final. The Senators would fall short of the Cup, losing in five games to the Western Conference champion Anaheim Ducks.