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Senators fans give Alfredsson a standing ovation

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators fans greeted former captain Daniel Alfredsson with a standing ovation Sunday prior to the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Canadian Tire Centre.

Chants of "Alfie! Alfie!" enhanced the cheering during a pregame video tribute in honor of Alfredsson, who played his first game in Canada's capital city since leaving the Senators last summer to sign a one-year contract with Detroit.

U2's "Beautiful Day," which was Alfredsson's longtime goal song in Ottawa, played while the video scoreboard ran highlights from the 40-year-old Swede's 17-year career with the Senators.

Fans show their support for former Sentors captain Daniel Aldredsson as he warms up prior to playing his first game back in Ottawa.
(Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI)

Alfredsson, who was in the Red Wings' starting lineup, watched from in front of the bench and skated out to center ice while the video was still playing to raise his stick to salute the crowd.

It was exactly the kind of reception Steve Palisek, a 35-year-old Canadian government employee, had hoped Ottawa's former captain would receive.

"I don't think the fans can forget what he's done for this team and the city, but I hope as well that after that they treat him like any other enemy player," said Palisek, who was among the numerous fans wearing a variety of Senators No. 11 Alfredsson jerseys.

Stacey Laporte was on hand for the game with a silver "X" taped over the No. 11 on the back of her black Senators Alfredsson jersey.

"I was really mad," said Laporte, a 22-year-old nursing student. "I wanted to burn my jersey, but I didn't. I kept it for this game. This will be the last game I ever wear Alfredsson on my back. I'm going to hang it backwards because I still love the Sens, so as long as I don't see Alfie's name I'll be happy with it."

Aaron Douma, who took in the game with Kristin Hoogsteen, said he used to be a fan of Alfredsson, dating back to his 1995-96 Calder Trophy season.

"I don't really follow Alfie any more, since he plays for Detroit," said Douma, 31, who works for a compost company. "I had been following him up until this year."

Hoogsteen, a 28-year-old nurse, was also wearing a red Senators jersey.

"He's an awesome player," Hoogsteen said. "I wish he was still our captain, but unfortunately he's not, so I still cheer for Ottawa, and I'm looking forward to watching him."

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