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What's old is new again for 'impressed' Senators

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Captain Daniel Alfredsson displays the Sens' new heritage look during Puck Drop at Scotiabank Place (Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).

Something old, something new.

The Ottawa Senators broke out their new heritage uniforms for the fans during Puck Drop, a fan-friendly event at Scotiabank Place that included an open practice.

It was also the first opportunity for fans to get their hands on the jersey — currently a Sens Store exclusive — which pays tribute to the Senators' 11 Stanley Cup championship teams from 1903-27.

Among the team's players, who wore the uniforms for the first time, there was a hearty round of thumbs up. They were introduced individually in front of the fans on hand, forming an 'O' at centre ice once they were done.

"We were all real impressed," said Senators centre Jason Spezza. "It's a great vintage look and I think they did a great job ... They captured the heritage look and put some nice little spins on it with the colours. It gives it that old-school look.

"I was really impressed the first time I saw them and now that I've seen all the guys wearing them, it's even more impressive."

Added captain Daniel Alfredsson: "I think it's really sharp. It brings out the retro look and at the same time, it looks modern. I think it'll be a huge success and stick around for a long time."

Retro has become 'in' around the National Hockey League, and it's a trend that works for goaltender Craig Anderson.

"Any time you can look back at some heritage stuff and bring back some memories for a (fan) sitting in the stands watching us, it's kind of a cool feeling," he said.

The Senators will wear the heritage uniforms during 11 home games in the 2011-12 season — the number matching the total of Stanley Cups won by the original Sens. The first such occasion is Oct. 13, when the Colorado Avalanche visit Scotiabank Place. There are also plans to take the jersey on the road for a game in Montreal on March 14.

Spezza adds an 'A' to his jersey

The new heritage look wasn't the only thing attracting attention today. Most noticeable during the player introductions was the 'A' on the front of Jason Spezza's jersey, confirming that he'll serve as an alternate captain this season alongside veteran Chris Phillips.

Spezza, who's entering his eighth full season in Ottawa, welcomes the opportunity.

"I have to be able to help out other guys when they're going through a tough time," he said. "I've got experience, too, so that's what makes it a natural progression. I've been through a lot, won a lot of games, lost a lot of games, and had the ups and downs. That's the stuff you gain as you get older and you can share with younger players.

"And we have a younger team, so there's definitely pressure on me to be a leader off the ice, too."

While the captains wear the letters, Senators head coach Paul MacLean expects the leadership role to be spread among the entire roster.

"The whole group has to have leadership," said MacLean. "That doesn't mean (Milan) Michalek and Anderson and (Chris) Neil and everyone else can't be leaders ... everybody can be a leader. The three players that have (the letters) are just representative of the group."

Sens reduce roster, re-assign five to Binghamton

With the shipping of goaltender Robin Lehner, defencemen Mark Borowiecki and Patrick Wiercioch, and forwards Kaspars Daugavins and Mike Hoffman to the Binghamton Senators (AHL), Ottawa's roster now sits at 25 players.

MacLean suggested earlier today those will be the team's final cuts until the team's current injury situtation sorts itself out. Forwards Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester are on the shelf with shoulder injuries, while blueliner Matt Carkner is nursing a knee ailment.

Though he's "optimistic" that all but Winchester will be ready for the Oct. 7 season opener in Detroit (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200), MacLean said a final decision won't be made on Carkner's status until Monday. The Senators plan to carry at least 22 players into the season, including one extra forward and defenceman.

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