Sens’ Methot respects Alfredsson’s decision

Ottawa Senators defenceman Marc Methot discusses his reaction to being invited to Team Canada's training camp for Sochi 2014.

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SENS’ METHOT RESPECTS ALFREDSSON’S DECISION

The Ottawa Sun sums up how it’s tough for fans and teammates to see Daniel Alfredsson go to the Detroit Red Wings. But Sens defenceman Marc Methot says there’s plenty of leadership material in the dressing room to pick up the slack.

“I don’t know what went on, I’m left in the dark like most players on the team,” said Methot. “But you have to respect his decision. He’s done so much for this city. It’s kind of hard to hold a grudge against him. I wish him all the best.

“You can’t replace a guy like Alfie. He was one heck of a mentor to learn off. He was mentoring a lot of the younger guys. We had the entire Swedish mafia on our hockey team, guys that looked up to him. It’s an opportunity for a lot of those guys to mature and do their own thing.

“We have a lot of great leaders. You’ve got guys like Spezz (Jason Spezza), Philly (Chris Phillips) and Neiler (Chris Neil). I want to take the reins, too. I want to be a vocal leader in the dressing room. I’m not going to change anything. It’s just the way I am. There are plenty of other players on our team that can do it, too.”

CONTRACT TALKS EXPECTED FOR SENS, COWEN

The Ottawa Citizen reports the agent for restricted free-agent defenceman Jared Cowen says negotiations with the Senators will soon pick up pace.

“It’s fine,” Rick Valette of Octagon Sports said Wednesday. “(The Senators) went through free agency, and they had a lot of things going on. We agreed early in July that we’d wait for a week or three and let things settle out.

“We have talked a couple of times, and we are going to move the process along now.”

Valette said he and Senators representatives talked in generalities during a couple of telephone conversations, and he expected more talks in the next week or two. “Nothing really to report at this time,” he said.

CANUCKS’ SCHROEDER’S SHOULDER AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

The Vancouver Province relays that Jordan Schroeder (May 21 shoulder labrum surgery) is confident he’ll be ready for Canucks’ training camp.

“My physiotherapist says I’m way ahead of schedule. I’m skating again, though I haven’t been doing any shooting yet.”

On what he’ll do to show he belongs: “I’ve just got to do what I do, use my speed and be confident.”

On needing to get more grit into his skilled game: “I’m not 6-1 and 210 pounds, but I’ve got to find a way to be scrappier. That’s something I want to add.”

LEAFS’ RANGER TRANSITIONS BACK INTO NHL

The Toronto Sun takes the position that the Maple Leafs signing Paul Ranger to a one-year contract on Wednesday was the next natural step in the defenceman’s return to the National Hockey League.

“I think from the day we first started talking to him last year, we were going to work on a time frame that worked for both parties and to transition him back into the game,” Leafs vice-president of hockey operations Dave Poulin said.

“He did a terrific job with the (Toronto) Marlies last year in doing that.”

Ranger hasn’t played in the NHL since 2009. Personal reasons kept him away from the game in any playing capacity until he signed with the Marlies last year.

“In his former role in the NHL, he was a top-four defenceman,” Poulin said. “He was arguably as good as any defenceman in the American league last year, and this was after a prolonged layoff. We’re highly encouraged. He is a big body, very mobile, puck-moving defenceman.”

CANES’ FAULK HAS ‘EXCELLENT’ CHANCE AT TEAM USA

The Raleigh News & Observer indicates Team USA GM David Poile said 21-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Justin Faulk has an “excellent chance” of making the team, and Faulk said that’s all he’s asking for.

“I think I’m a good enough skater for the big sheets and don’t mind it at all,” Faulk said Wednesday. “It gives you more time to make plays and do things with the puck, and I think my defensive game is strong enough. I do not think it would be a big adjustment.”

Faulk doesn’t believe his age will work against him.

“I’m not going in saying, ‘I’m only 21, maybe I’m too young,’ ” Faulk said. “There will be no excuses. I’m going to do all I can to make the team.

“When I came in the (NHL), some may have said, ‘He’s pretty young, he’s just 19.’ But I just play my game. I have quite a bit of international experience and I hope that will come in handy.”

PATRICK: DALLAS STARS HAVE ‘BUZZ’ NOW

The Dallas Morning News notes new Stars assistant coach James Patrick served the past seven seasons as an assistant coach under new Stars coach Lindy Ruff in Buffalo.

“Obviously, I know Lindy well, and that helps any transition, but I’m really excited to work with (new GM) Jim Nill,” Patrick said. “You hear so many good things about him around the league, and there’s just a buzz out there right now about Dallas and what’s going on down there. I feel like I’m walking into a great situation.”

Patrick said he and Ruff get along well, but that they definitely will have disagreements.

“I don’t think you could be together as long as we have and not disagree at times,” Patrick said. “We’ve handled those things constructively in the past, and I’m sure we will going forward. A good debate or good discussion can be a positive thing for a coaching staff.”

Patrick’s take on the Sabres’ Tyler Myers vs. the Stars’ Jamie Oleksiak was also worth noting.

BORTUZZO, PENS AVOID ARBITRATION

Robert Bortuzzo spoke with The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review following agreeing to his two-year deal with the Penguins, which avoided salary arbitration.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Bortuzzo said.

The 6-foot-4 defenseman’s long reach and physical presence complements a defensive group better known for its speed and offensive skill.

“Between the organization and the city,” Bortuzzo said, “Pittsburgh is obviously where I want to be.”

He added: “The team’s premium on winning is something I wanted to be a part of.”

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