“I’m now a very emotional Sens fan.” This is the message I received from Jakob Silfverberg’s older sister last night, at 4 a.m. Swedish time. It’s safe to say that the focus of the Silfverberg family has quickly shifted from the Brynäs playoff run to that of the Ottawa Senators. Same goes for the most interesting person in that family (apologies to former SEL star, father Jan-Erik). After securing the SEL championship title on Thursday, he didn’t celebrate as hard as his teammates, despite being the biggest star on the team, having scored the game-winner and being named playoff MVP. At Friday’s celebration party, the down-to-earth Silfver Surfer once again took it easy, and was the first one to leave. His focus was already elsewhere.
Just mere hours after the Sens left the sludge of The World’s Most Famous Arena, the next forward out of the deep and talented pool of prospects to make his NHL debut for the Sens boarded a plane. While his sticks didn’t make it all the way – hands off, German airport employees! – his wrists did. Jakob himself might miss the Swedish Marabou chocolate bars, Vikings, furniture that’s easily packaged, or caviar and cheese in toothpaste tubes, but not as much as SEL fans will miss that terrific release of his.
He’s arrived now, and expectations are he’s going to come in and be the best player since sliced bread. I am very excited to see Silfverberg play in the NHL myself, but I also want to point out the fact that this is not a matter of the Senators getting their own Sasha Radulov, a player coming in from Europe making a big and immediate impact. It’s just a nice addition of a very ready prospect who may be able to help in some areas, but may also struggle to adjust going from the low-tempo SEL to the intensity of an NHL playoff game.
While it’s doubtful he’ll get right into the lineup after a day of trans-atlantic travelling and just the one morning skate with the team, he is an intriguing option, being able to play either wing as well as provide a spark to a struggling power-play. Silfverberg himself hasn’t yet been given any indication whether he is going to play in game 6 or not. With Alfredsson coming back (knock on wood) and Mark Stone making a crafty play that led to a goal on his second NHL shift, it’s certainly going to be an interesting morning skate tomorrow.
What would Ricard Persson do?