Here's what you need to know for tonight:
Alfie Night in Ottawa
The Senators will honour longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson hours after he officially announced his retirement at a news conference in Ottawa.
The plan, an unusual one, is for Alfredsson to suit up one last time with the Senators and skate in the warm-ups prior to tonight’s home game against the New York Islanders. He’s also expected to take part in the ceremonial opening faceoff.
Players not under contract normally aren’t allowed in the pre-game skate, but the NHL granted the Senators special permission, and Alfredsson signed a symbolic one-day contract with the team so he can technically retire as a Sen.
Alfredsson, who turns 42 next week, spent last year with Detroit after playing his first 17 NHL seasons with Ottawa. He left the Canadian capital as a free agent in the summer of 2013 amid an ugly-at-times contract dispute (Alfredsson seemed to think he’d been low-balled) but he and Ottawa GM Bryan Murray patched things up last month during a car ride in Detroit, where the Senators were playing the Red Wings and Alfredsson still has a home.
The Senators' captain for 13 seasons, Alfredsson is the franchise's all-time leader in games played (1,178), points (1,108), goals (426) and assists (682). A sixth-round draft pick in 1994, he won the Calder Trophy in 1996 as the NHL’s top rookie after scoring 26 goals, and went on to crack the 40-goal mark twice and play in six All-Star games.
His overtime goal in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference final against Buffalo sent the Senators to the Stanley Cup final for the first and only time in the modern incarnation of the team. Ottawa, though, lost to Anaheim in five games.
Alfredsson enjoyed a decorated international career with his native Sweden, winning Olympic gold in 2006 and adding a silver medal this year. He also collected four world championship medals, though none of them were gold.
It wasn't long ago that Martin Brodeur's great career seemed to be coming to a close as well. The 42-year-old goalie had been let go by the Devils after 21 seasons, and there seemed to be no interest around the league in acquiring his diminished skills.
But Brodeur, who did not want to retire, landed a tryout with the Blues, signed a one-year contract earlier this week, and on Wednesday St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters Brodeur will play tonight in Nashville.
Brodeur is a sure-fire Hall of Famer who's won three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals and four Vezina Trophies as the NHL's top goalie. So what's the motivation to keep going? Besides the fun of playing hockey for money, he needs only 12 wins to reach 700 for his career. Brodeur is already the NHL's all-time leader in regular-season wins (688), shutouts (124) and losses (394).
Canucks, Leafs, Flames in action
In the other games on Thursday night involving Canadian teams, Vancouver visits Pittsburgh in a matchup of two of the NHL’s best; Toronto goes for its third consecutive victory when it hosts New Jersey; and Calgary tries for its fourth straight win when it plays Colorado at the Saddledome.