Alfredsson expects ‘a lot of emotion’ in first game vs. Sens

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Think of it like a dress rehearsal.

On Wednesday, Daniel Alfredsson will face his former club of 17 years, the Ottawa Senators, for the first time since his stunning offseason departure to Detroit.

We say dress rehearsal, because tonight’s game will be in the friendly confines of Joe Louis, rather than the potential powder keg that awaits in Ottawa. That’s not to say, though, that Alfie isn’t expecting an emotional night.

“Obviously I’ve got a lot of good friends on the other side. I think it will be a relief once the puck drops,” Alfredsson told the Canadian Press. “There will be a lot of emotion going into the game … But it’s a bit exciting too.”

Alfredsson’s had a very good start to his Red Wings tenure. He leads the team in assists, with eight, and sits third on the team in points (nine), trailing Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who share the lead with 11.

The 40-year-old Swede has proven to be a versatile asset for Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. Injuries and a glut of bodies at forward have forced Babcock to juggle his lines incessantly, and Alfredsson has proven to be a key cog in that shuffle by excelling in a number of situations.

Tonight, Alfie is expected to skate on the Wings’ second line alongside Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. Babcock discussed the situation at hand and how grateful he is to have Alfredsson on his team.

“He was there a long time and I don’t care who you are, there’s lots of emotion in that when you face your old team,” Babcock said. “There’ll be emotion that he made a decision and we’re thankful for the decision.

“The great thing about it is we’re all entitled to make those – and he decided to come here.”