Now, that was a dud.
Maybe not to Ottawa Senators fans who remain mad-as-heck at Daniel Alfredsson for his shocking decision to skate away from the franchise he joined in 1995 and captained for the last 13 seasons.
This only was the first chapter in what will be intriguing season-long soap opera. They play in the same division. They have three more games against each other. Just imagine the hype if they meet in the playoffs?
In Game 1 in this newly formed rivalry, the Senators enjoyed an inspired outing and taught their old teammate and the Detroit Red Wings a lesson with a 6-1 win at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.
All the key players on the Ottawa side made sure the Senators were the team that felt good about the long-awaited first meeting against Alfredsson. His replacement as captain Jason Spezza scored twice. Bobby Ryan, the sniper the Senators traded for on the same day as Alfredsson's departure, also checked in with two goals.
Talented Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson, who had dinner with Alfredsson and his family the night before, was solid with two assists in 25 minutes, 55 seconds of ice time.
Alfredsson and his new Detroit teammates were outclassed in all areas of the rink. They didn't have much emotion in their game in clearly what was an emotional night for the Senators.
"It didn't feel too crazy," said Alfredsson, who was held pointless, had two shots on goal and two hits -- one on Cory Conacher, the other on Ryan -- in 16:12 of ice time.
"Warmup was what it was. Once the game got going, you're really into it."
There was Alfredsson sitting in the penalty box for a tripping penalty midway through the third period. He must have wondered if the next chapter on Nov. 23 back in Detroit will go better and what will be in store for him when he returns to Ottawa for a game on Dec. 1.
A lot of the emotion leaked out of the building early when the Senators jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the game was 15 minutes old. Ottawa was the better bunch, at least for one evening.
I still maintain that when the Senators acquired Ryan last summer they immediately upgraded their roster with Ryan in and Alfredsson out. It also doesn't hurt that the Senators have a healthy Spezza, Karlsson, Jared Cowen, Milan Michalek and goalie Craig Anderson.
The Senators started slowly, but they certainly exhibited how well they can play in Detroit as they improved to 4-3-3.
The Red Wings, now 6-4-1, enjoyed the stronger start. Alfredsson, although he described his beginning with his new team as "so-so," piled up points, too, with a goal and eight assists in his first 10 games.
When he made the decision to move from Ottawa to Detroit, he remarked that he felt the Red Wings gave him a better chance to win now. But what leaked out later in the summer was that Alfredsson felt the Senators owed him financially to stay.
In his last front-loaded four-year contract with the club, he took a pay cut in the final year of the deal at $1-million for the 2012-13 season so his salary cap hit was reduced.
He and his agent J.P. Barry asked the Senators for $6-million a season. Ottawa's counteroffer fell short. The Red Wings picked up the pieces with a $5.5-million no-movement deal that included a $3.5-million base salary and $2-million bonus if he plays 10 games.
Feeling at home
Alfredsson talked about the difficult decision he made to leave the Senators, but it wasn't as problematic as when he left his hometown of Gothenburg at age 22 to play for the Senators.
The Red Wings didn't have to do much of a selling job to Alfredsson. He is one of eight Swedes on the team. He talked with Henrik Zetterberg about the team and the quality of life in the Detroit suburbs. His mind was made up.
Alfredsson said he is beginning to feel at home. He and his wife Bibbi and four young sons moved into a home in Birmingham, about a 25-minute drive from downtown Detroit, just before the season opened its door.
He even remarked postgame that he felt fine going up against his old club for the first time. He just wanted a better result.
"It didn't feel as awkward as I thought it would," he said.
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