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Alfredsson: I'll be back soon

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
The bounce was back in his stride, the attitude still very upbeat.

While Daniel Alfredsson admitted today he's disappointed that he'll miss the Senators' home-opener against the Detroit Red Wings tonight (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200), the Ottawa captain is convinced he won't be out of the lineup for long.

Alfredsson underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Friday to remove a bone chip from his right knee. The procedure lasted only 20 minutes, he said, and judging by the way he walked through the hallways at Scotiabank Place today, it obviously went well.

"I'm going to take it really easy for the first couple of days here," Alfredsson told the media this morning as his teammates wrapped up their optional pre-game skate. "(I want to) keep the swelling down and keep the bleeding to a minimum. It looks really good so far today and I feel pretty fine. I can walk around with no problem.

"We'll probably start being more aggressive (in rehabbing it) on Monday and go from there."

Though he has a history of recovering quickly from injuries, Alfredsson didn't want to guess just yet if he'd be back ahead of the projected two-week recovery schedule.

"It's impossible to say," he said. "Every injury is different. I scoped the knee for a similar reason two years ago but that was after the season. I've never tried to come back after having minor surgery (like this).

"If everything goes well, which I assume it will, I hope to be back sooner rather than later."

Alfredsson first felt some discomfort in the knee after the Senators' 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday in Stockholm. His knee "locked up on me and the muscles spasmed a bit" toward the end of practice Tuesday and an MRI revealed the loose bone chip.

Practice went well on Thursday and Alfredsson briefly considered holding off on surgery until after tonight's matchup with the Red Wings, a game he badly wanted to play. But given the Senators' light schedule in the next week or so, he ultimately decided "doing it (Friday) made the most sense."

"It's a big disappointment," Alfredsson said about missing the chance to face the Red Wings in the teams' only meeting this season. "This is definitely a game I was looking forward to. I really enjoy the way (the Red Wings) play and the type of players they have. That's why this was a game I thought about playing.

"But I feel good about the choice to have (the surgery) right away, even if this is a tough game to miss."

Dany Heatley will wear the captain's "C" in Alfredsson's absence, while agitating winger Jarkko Ruutu will move into his spot on the No. 1 line alongside Heatley and centre Jason Spezza.

Senators head coach Craig Hartsburg said once again he believes everyone else in the lineup can combine to pick up the slack if they continue to show the team play they displayed against the Penguins in Sweden.

"We don't need people to change the way they play or change their roles," he said. "We just need people to do the right things for 60 minutes against this team. You have to be ready for every shift."

For the fans at Scotiabank Place, it's their first regular-season chance to see Hartsburg's first Senators team.

"It's always nice to play in your building for the first time in a game that means something," he said. "I know the players are excited, I'm excited and I hope the whole building is really excited tonight and we have a really good start."

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