Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Karlsson Says Next Season Will Be Tough without Alfredsson "On a Personal Level"

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Karlsson Says Next Season Will Be Tough without Alfredsson "On a Personal Level"

Article excerpt

Karlsson says he wishes Alfredsson the best

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OTTAWA - The sight of Daniel Alfredsson skating in an Ottawa Senators jersey so soon after the very public airing of grievances between him and his former team may have surprised some people.

Erik Karlsson wasn't one of them.

"It's pretty normal, I mean he's been doing it for a while," the Senators defenceman said with a laugh. "It's when he puts the other jersey that it would feel a little different probably."

Alfredsson joined other NHL players at an informal skate at Bell Sensplex on Monday. Last week the former Senators captain made headlines when he said negotiations to bring him back to Ottawa for another season "went nowhere," causing general manager Bryan Murray to publicly defend the front office.

The 40-year-old Alfredsson signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings July 5 as a free agent after negotiations with the Senators fell through.

Karlsson has grown close to Alfredsson, a fellow Swede, and even lived with him at times. He admits things will be very different without his mentor around on a daily basis.

"For me on a personal level it's going to be tough for me, we're close friends and he's helped me out a lot. I only wish him all the best," he said. "I still think we'll be friends.

"I don't think it's that sudden and I'm just happy he's still playing," Karlsson added. "We have to move on and I think we have guys on the team that's ready to take the next step and as of right now everybody's pretty excited to focus on our game and becoming a better team."

Alfredsson's departure after 17 seasons with the Senators undoubtedly means a change of leadership will have to take place, but Karlsson is confident the team will be able to adjust accordingly.

"There's going to be changes inside the locker-room and on the ice and I think the group of guys we have are going to handle that perfectly I think," said Karlsson. "I think there will be no problems moving on from here and as I said it was just a matter of time before Alfie was gone."

Karlsson is back in Ottawa after spending much of the summer in Sweden and appears to be making progress in recovering from a partially lacerated Achilles tendon. …

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