Naming a new team captain is a big deal in the NHL, and the direction the Ottawa Senators went in didn’t surprise many.
The team announced center Jason Spezza as their new captain, the eighth in team history, taking over the job from new Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson. Chris Phillips and Chris Neil will serve as the team’s alternate captains.
There was some debate in Ottawa as to who would get the call be it Spezza, Phillips, or youngster Erik Karlsson but it was be the forward who won out.
In case you’ve forgotten in all the Alfredsson hoopla this summer, he was the Senators captain for 14 years. Now it’s up to Spezza to help fans move on and forget about the guy they’ll see be a divisional rival in Detroit this season.
As for Spezza’s credentials, he’s been with Ottawa his entire career since being their first-round pick, second overall in 2001. Through 10 seasons with the Sens, he has 228 goals and 621 points in 611 career games.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.
Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.
Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.
During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.
It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.
As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.
Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.