In glitzy Ottawa, a town so full of excitement it makes Paris, France look like Cornwall, Ontario, it’s easy to take Daniel Alfredsson for granted. Captain of the Senators since 1999, Alfie is a bit like the Parliament Buildings – always there through rain and snow – but sometimes falling apart on us.
Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. When the Parliament Buildings start to crumble, they throw up scaffolding and go to work for years. Alfie goes under the knife, tapes an aspirin to the bruise, and is usually good to go in the morning, or in about half the time it takes other athletes to recover. That’s the way he’s been throughout his career but he has fans worried with some of his recent injuries. He got over the bad back but now he’s out with a concussion and many fans are starting to prepare themselves for life without the captain in the future. With any luck, that might be a few seasons away, but we can all see the slow train coming up around the bend.
Alfredsson has 1030 points in 1066 games as a Senator.
Just how lucky are Ottawa fans to have had a player of this caliber donning the red and black since 1995?
Consider this: There are 7 NHL organizations, all of which started operations either before or during the Senators inaugural season of 1992-93, that have not had a player score 1000 points in their uniform. You may be surprised to see which high profile teams are on this list.
New Jersey Devils
Formed: 1974 (as Kansas City Scouts)
Points Leader: Patrick Elias – 825 points
Formed: 1979 (as Winnipeg Jets)
Points Leader: Dale Hawerchuk – 929 points
San Jose Sharks
Points Leader: Patrick Marleau – 774 points
Tampa Bay Lightning
Points Leader: Vincent Lecavalier – 802 points
Toronto Maple Leafs
Formed: 1917 (as Toronto Arenas)
Points Leader: Mats Sundin – 987 points
Points Leader: Markus Naslund – 756 points
Points Leader: Peter Bondra – 825 points
In addition to the 1000 point threshold, the Ottawa Senators will welcome another lifelong player to the 1000 games played list this season as long as Chris Phillips stays healthy. Using the same 1992-93 cut off, four teams who started before the Senators don’t have a single player in franchise history to hit four digits in games.
Games Played Leader: Mario Lemieux – 915 games
St. Louis Blues
Games Played Leader: Bernie Federko – 927 games
Tampa Bay Lightning
Games Played Leader: Vincent Lecavalier – 946 games
Games Played Leader: Calle Johansson – 983 games
Numbers are numbers. You can attach any kind of significance to them you want. So what if Lemieux didn’t play 1000 games for the Penguins. That team wouldn’t be worth a capful of racoon shit if he hadn’t single-handedly filled the seats at Mellon Arena year after year.
What really matters is that a fan base has someone to identify with. They want a guy they can point to and say “that’s what Senators hockey is all about”, or Red Wings hockey or Flyers hockey. Mats Sundin may lead the Toronto Maple Leafs in a lot of statistical categories but most fans still hold guys like Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour in higher esteem, if not in their heads, then certainly in their hearts.
And that’s what it’s all about anyways. Numbers are a fun distraction, but they’ll never be able to tell you about character and personality.
Luckily for Ottawa, Alfie’s got that in spades and the numbers to boot.