Daniel Alfredsson returns to Ottawa to face Senators

Emotions are expected to run high when the long-time captain of the Ottawa Senators makes his much-anticipated return on Sunday as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.

Former captain plays his 1st game in nation's capital since signing with Detroit Red WIngs

Daniel Alfredsson drove to the rink today and realized he doesn't play for the Ottawa Senators. 5:14

Daniel Alfredsson expects an emotional night and he doesn't know what to expect when he steps on the Canadian Tire Centre ice on Sunday to face his former club.

Alfredsson practised there on Saturday as he prepares for the much-anticipated return to Ottawa as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.

"Obviously coming back to Ottawa, playing the first game, I'm sure will be emotional," Alfredsson said after practice.

"I'm not sure how I will react but I think it will be a special night."

Alfredsson has battled back and groin injuries this season, but he must be feeling pretty good after picking up three points, including two goals, in a Friday night win over the New York Islanders. 

But on Saturday, he admitted feeling weird when, as he drove to the rink he played in for almost two decades, he realized he's playing on a different team.

"It's a very different situation than anything I've ever gone through before so I don't know what to expect or what's going to happen," he said.

Alfredsson also said it was nice to see family and friends in Ottawa. His family had come up four days early, too, to see their friends and relatives.

'It'll be good for everybody'

The Senators players said they know it will be emotional but the business of winning a key hockey game will take over once the puck is dropped.

Senators head coach Paul MacLean also said the game would finally bring some closure to a messy break-up between the team and Alfredsson — at least for fans who might still feel sour or hurt.

"I think it would finally put a close to it, I guess. I know we've moved on, I know Daniel's moved on. This gives the fans an opportunity to move on and I think it'll be good for everybody," he said Saturday.

MacLean also said he expects Alfredsson will receive a positive reception from fans.

But the Sens have bigger fish to fry after MacLean tore his team in a post-game rant after their 5-2 loss against Vancouver on Thursday. He hopes they come out as they did the last time they played Alfredsson, a 6-1 win on Oct. 23 in Detroit.

The CBC's Jamie Long will be live-blogging the game here. You can also follow him on Twitter, @cbcjlong, and follow the hashtag, #AlfiesBack.

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