Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Better know an Enemy: The Fightin' Indians!

Here it comes, the Sens' first ever game outside of North America. It's Thursday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m. EST against the Frölunda HC of Gothenburg, commonly known as the Frölunda Indians. The storied club is celebrating their 70th anniversary season this year, after being founded in February 1938. Their home arena, the Scandinavium, has a capacity of 12,o44 spectators. So what's in store for the Senators when they face-off on Thursday, Oct. 2?

For all of those super-fans out there taking the day off to watch the game, it's not going to be on regular cable. Sorry. It's going to be on TEAM 1200 on the radio, though, and courtesy some Facebook group, it's also available streaming online at MyP2P.eu! What a world we live in...

The Indians are coached by 14-year NHL veteran Ulf Dahlen. Current Sens' prospect Erik Karlsson is on the roster, so this will be a great opportunity to see what we can expect from the 2008 first-round pick. Other notables include Joe DiPenta, who won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007; Johan Holmqvist, former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender (who was once traded for former Senator Lawrence Nycholat, coincidentally); Niklas Anderson, the team's captain, who is old enough to have experience with the now-defunct Quebec Nordiques (okay, he's ony 37); and at least six players whose last names have a double-S somewhere, so Daniel Alfredsson will fit right in.

Speaking of Alfredsson, he holds two playoff records for the franchise, both recorded during the 2004-05 lockout season, including most goals in a playoff season (12) and most points in a playoff season (18). During that 2004-05 season, the Indians won the league with a 33-8-9 record, and went on to win the Swedish championship. They also made the Swedish finals in 2005-06, but lost, and then fell to 9th in the regular season in 2006-07 (missing the playoffs). Last year, for the 2007-08 season, the Indians finished sixth and lost in the quarter-finals.

It seems the Indians have been battling mediocrity of late, but I would venture to guess that in the Swedish Elite League, one or two good signings can turn a team right around. For the Indians, that signing might have been Holmqvist. They had a solid 7-2 record in pre-season, which led the Nordic Trophy standings. In the regular season, though, they're 1-4-2, which includes an overtime win and an overtime loss.

What I want to know the most, though, is why a Swedish team is called the Indians, after the Amerindian. They do have a pretty cool intro, though...

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