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Sens captain insists 'I'm ready now' for new year

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
With successful off-season sports hernia surgery behind him, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is eagerly anticipating his 15th National Hockey League season (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images).

With a broad smile and a few enthusiastic words, Daniel Alfredsson offered the definitive answer to the question that matters most of all.

"I'm ready now," a beaming Alfredsson said earlier today when asked if he's ready to take on the rigours of another National Hockey League season in the wake of off-season surgery to repair a sports hernia injury.

"It's fun to be back out on the ice with the guys."

Alfredsson hit the ice today with a number of his teammates at the Bell Sensplex, his first scrimmage since returning late last week from summer vacation with his family in Sweden. But he's seen plenty of ice back home already.

"I've been skating for almost four weeks now," said Alfredsson, 37, who's about to embark into his 15th NHL campaign with the Senators. "I usually don't go on the ice until the end of August. But because of the surgery, I wanted to see how it felt, make sure I start slowly and don't push it too much right away. I probably went on the ice 2-1/2 weeks earlier than I normally do. It feels like it was a good decision because I've been feeling really good."

That might also sum up Alfredsson sentiments heading into the 2010-11 season. After pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins to six games in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring, he sees a team on the verge of even bigger things.

"I am excited," said Alfredsson. "We took a big step forward last year compared to the year before (when the Senators missed the playoffs). We had some really good games in the playoffs and that makes you feel like we can grow ... (we have) a lot of young guys who can and will get better as time goes on. It looks promising and exciting for us."

Like most of his teammates, Alfredsson is also enthused about the addition of veteran defenceman Sergei Gonchar, who signed a three-year free-agent contract with the Senators on July 1.

"(Gonchar) is a smooth skater and great with the puck. It's going to be a lot of fun to play with him," said Alfredsson. "He brings a dimension that we've needed. I'm happy to see him here ... He's probably one of the best power-play quarterbacks in the last 10 years."

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