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Alfie, Weiss officially begin new careers

Veteran forwards are excited for Red Wings' season-opener

Wednesday, 10.2.2013 / 3:08 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Alfie, Weiss officially begin new careers
Stephen Weiss is excited for the start of the new season and his new hockey chapter with the Red Wings. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROITDaniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss will emerge from the thickening white smoke at the Zamboni end of the rink tonight as public address announcer Erich Freiny enthusiastically introduces the two newcomers to a jam-packed crowd at Joe Louis Arena.

Collectively, Alfredsson and Weiss have played 1,960 regular-season and playoff games with Ottawa and Florida, respectively. But the pair officially begins their Red Wings careers with tonight’s season-opener.

Alfredsson played 17 seasons with the Senators and was their captain for the last 13 campaigns, so tonight’s meaning hasn’t fully sunk in yet for the perennial All-Star forward.

“I don't know if I had a moment where it's like, ‘Now I am one.’ I'm in a process here of getting used to everything, the guys, the room,” said Alfredsson who is getting over a groin injury that limited him to two preseason games. “Played my first exhibition game at home last week, can't say I feel any different. Feel like you're part of the team. This is a great organization, it's fun to be here.”

The assimilation process for Alfredsson has been helped by having fellow Swedes Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Joakim Andersson, Mikael Samuelsson and Johan Franzen in the locker room.

“When you're on the ice you don't really notice it,” he said. “It's when you watch video in the coaches room or you see highlight of yourself in a different jersey, it feels different, but overall the guys have been great in the room and I'm excited to get started tonight.”

The Red Wings open the season against new Atlantic Division rival Buffalo, the same franchise that Alfredsson opened up against 18 years ago this week at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

He collected his first NHL point on Oct. 7, 1995, assisting on Michel Picard’s goal on Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek in the Senators’ 3-1 loss.

“This is like a new start and it's at home against Buffalo. It's fitting,” Alfredsson said.

Nerves will definitely be a part of tonight’s pre-game for Weiss, who said his parents are making the drive in from suburban Toronto to be at the game.

“Whether it's Game 1 or Game 70, anytime you come to the rink and you're playing a National Hockey League game the butterflies are going, you're excited to play,” Weiss said. “Last night was tough getting to sleep. It's going to be a long day today, sitting around waiting for it to get started.”

Along with Franzen, Weiss and Alfredsson make-up a new second line that the Wings hope can become an offensive compliment to Pavel Datsyuk’s line.

“I think the sky's the limit for us,” Weiss said. “We had two periods to play together but I think we figured it out in those 40 minutes. We just got to go out and play and not worry about scoring goals, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Alfredsson and Weiss will also help out on the power play. Alfredsson will man the right point on the first unit with Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Justin Abdelkader, and Kronwall. Weiss is on the second unit with Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary.

But it’s the 5-on-5 play of the Wings’ second line that intrigues coach Mike Babcock.

“It has the makings of a real good line,” the Wings’ coach said. “Obviously, Mule’s the key. He can be a dominant player. We’ve got to get him going every time, because if he goes every day, it makes it easier for Alfie and Weiss. That’s an important group for us. Obviously if we have 1A and 1B instead of 1 and 2, it makes it easier for us to run our bench.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80