-- In season No. 16 with the Ottawa Senators
, Daniel Alfredsson
is looking forward to spending time with a younger squad. But as long as Paul MacLean
is coach, he better get used to pumping his legs – a lot.
This Ottawa club is destined to become a skating team, which Alfredsson quickly discovered after his first scrimmage and practice on Saturday.
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"It was pretty fast-paced," Alfredsson said. "A lot of skating, but I thought it was pretty good. We had a good video session before practice where we went over back-checking situations and in-our-own-zone coverage; then we worked on them in practice. Then we played the scrimmage and I thought it was a good pace overall."
Alfredsson is still feeling his way through the new system; but, so far, there haven't been huge differences in this training camp compared to the previous ones he's experienced.
"Maybe more skating than we've done before," Alfredsson said. "The toughest thing for a player is that there's not a lot of guys out there, so you skate a lot and you don't get enough rest in between reps. But we skated quite a bit, and we were able to catch our breath between winds and go hard the next time, so that's nice. Overall, high pace and I think that's the way Paul wants it. We worked pretty hard."
The 38-year-old continues to get to know his MacLean, his new coach, so it was hard for him to offer a take after a single day of training camp. Still, Alfredsson knows that youth, speed and a transitional game are going to play a big role in shaping the Senators this season.
"I can't (give my thoughts on the coach) after one day," Alfredsson said. "We'll give it more time. Talking in the video meeting that we had, (Paul) wants it to be pretty clear what we're going to do and he expects everyone to follow.
"He understands it's a young team and mistakes are going to be made. I think if we can be a good skating team we can make up for those mistakes. I think that's why we're going to skate a lot. A lot of this is puck movement, too. Obviously, on the back end, we have quite a bit of skill that can move the puck up quick, which allows (the forwards) to be quick, too. If you can move the puck quick and you can transition quick, I think that's one thing we can do. If we can backcheck hard and transition, we'll be a fast team."
Meanwhile, within camp, Alfredsson knows his roster spot is secured. However, he enjoys the energy that comes from players trying to make the team.
"I think it's good to have healthy competition in camp when you come in and there are only one or two spots up for grabs, Alfredsson said. "I think if you perform really well, you can make the team and it makes for a good atmosphere. And it pushes everybody. So we should have a high-intensity camp with a lot of guys playing really hard."
"The toughest thing for a player is that there's not a lot of guys out there, so you skate a lot and you don't get enough rest in between reps. But we skated quite a bit, and we were able to catch our breath between winds and go hard the next time, so that's nice. Overall, high pace and I think that's the way Paul wants it. We worked pretty hard.." -- Daniel Alfredsson
The Senators will play their first preseason game Monday, against the Toronto Maple Leafs
. It's a shorter prep time than Alfredsson would prefer, but he – and the team – will try to bond quickly.
"I don't think we're going to be thrown too much information (from Paul), as if we want to be perfect on Monday," Alfredsson said. "It will be a process where we will focus on certain things the first few games. As we go on, we'll evolve that. But it's hard. I'm not a fan of it. The shorter camps are okay, but I think there should be at least five days before the first exhibition before the teams get into contact and perhaps be a little bit more together, but it's the same for everybody and we'll make the best of it."