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Hours before his Swedish countrymen were to play for their
second straight world championship Joe
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, Daniel Alfredsson reflected on how his life has
changed since he has become a hockey dad. Alfredsson headlined the group of
eight 2018 inductees to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame on
the final day of competition in Copenhagen.

”You’re never going to get the highs of playing in a world championship or
especially the world championship final again,” he said. ”But I’m happy where
I’m at.”

For the last year, Alfredsson has been away from the NHL, but not far from
the rink.

”Three of my sons play for the same organization,” he said. ”I coached two of
the teams.

”I had a really enjoyable time. Learned a lot as well: where to set the bar
for the kids at different ages and maturity levels. It was a great
experience.”

Originally drafted in the sixth round by the Ottawa Senators in 1994,
Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1995-96 and went on to
become the franchise leader in goals (426) and points (1,108) in an NHL career
that spanned 18 seasons, 17 of them in Ottawa. He served as captain from 1999 to
2013 and helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.

Internationally, Alfredsson won Olympic gold with Sweden in 2006 and silver
in 2014, along with four world championship medals – silver in 1995 and 2004 and
bronze in 1999 and 2001.

After finishing his playing career with the Detroit Red Wings, Alfredsson
signed a one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Senators in
2014 and had his jersey number retired by Ottawa in 2016. He served two seasons
as a senior adviser of hockey operations with the Senators before stepping away
from the team in July.

”As long as my kids are involved, I’ll be involved in youth hockey one way or
another, as a coach or volunteer or anything,” he said about his plans.
”Professionally Chris Wormley
Jersey
, I don’t know. I’ve taken a year off. It’s been nice, but
part of me missed the competitiveness. We’ll see what happens.”

Asked if he’d heard anything about the future of his fellow Erik Karlsson, a
fellow Swede and current captain of the Senators who is scheduled to become an
unrestricted free agent in July 2019, Alfredsson said: ”To me, he says that he
wants to stay. But it’s not all in his hands.”

Canadian defenseman and current Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake
also was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

One of just 28 members of the hockey’s Triple Gold Club, Blake won a gold
medal at the world championship in 1994, a Stanley Cup with the Colorado
Avalanche in 2001 and was part of the team that snapped Canada’s 50-year Olympic
gold drought in Salt Lake City in 2002. All told, he skated for Canada in three
Olympics, four world championships and at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, as well
as playing a management role in two world championships and at the 2016 World
Cup.

Blake named mentors like Bob Nicholson and the late Pat Quinn as members of
the Team Canada brain trust that supported him during his playing days. He
supports the return of NHL players to the Olympic stage.

”Yes. To me, it was a tremendous experience to be involved in the Village,
just like any other athlete,” said Blake. ”That’s probably what I still get
asked most about – the Olympics.”

Six others also were inducted on Sunday, including former NHL stars Chris
Chelios and Jere Lehtinen in the player category Phil McConkey
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, plus longtime Canadian referee Bob Nadin and France’s
second-generation hockey hero Philippe Lacarriere as builders.

Denmark’s Jesper Damgaard, who played in 17 consecutive world championships,
received the Richard ”Bibi” Torriani award for his outstanding career as a
player from a smaller hockey nation and Latvia’s Kirovs Lipmans was named the
winner of the Paul Loicq Award for his contributions to international ice
hockey.

Jimmy Graham isn't worried about developing chemistry with Aaron
Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers new tight end knows how good his new quarterback
is, and through the first three days of training camp, they've already made
plenty of progress.

But when will Graham know that he and Rodgers have truly gotten on the same
page?

"I'll be with the ball in the end zone," Graham said after Saturday's first
in-pads practice of camp. "That's really when you know."

That hasn't happened yet in any of the 11-on-11 team periods of the first
three practices, but the two have connected plenty of times during drills and
expect to be on the same wavelength in time for the Sept. 9 regular-season
opener against Chicago.

"We'll just keep plugging away. We'll just keep doing that each and every
day," Graham said. "And come Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . we'll be clicking, I'm pretty
sure."

The Packers certainly need Graham, a five-time Pro Bowl tight end who came
over from Seattle in free agency Mark Bavaro
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, to be a force. After cutting wide receiver Jordy Nelson
during the offseason, they'll be counting on Graham to be a go-to presence in
the red zone. Last year with the Seahawks, all 10 of his touchdown catches came
from inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

Coach Mike McCarthy's offense is at its best when he has a big, athletic
tight end in the mix, which is why the team has signed one three years running -
Jared Cook in 2016, Martellus Bennett last year and Graham this time around.
While the Bennett experiment backfired, Rodgers and Cook developed a strong
connection during their one season together after Cook overcame early-season
injury problems.

"We just need more reps," Rodgers said of his exposure to Graham. "He's a big
target, he catches the ball with his hands. We haven't had a guy like that
around here in a while. Obviously Jared did a lot of those things, but Jimmy,
he's got a great feel for coverages, getting open, he uses his body really well,
runs good routes. And he's a matchup issue. We haven't had a consistent matchup
issue guy like that for a long time.

"So we just need reps together. He needs to hear the language Patrick
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, he needs to hear some of the code words and the
verbiage and the signals. I'm not worried about any chemistry issues with
him."

Graham, who played with elite-level quarterbacks with the Saints (Drew Brees)
and Seahawks (Russell Wilson), has been impressed with Rodgers' accuracy and his
ability to put the ball in places that protect his receivers from dangerous
hits. To Graham, having that type of trust already with Rodgers is a very
encouraging sign.

"I know when leads me out there that I can just run right through it. I've
got no worries in the world because I know he's the eyes in the back of my
head," Graham said. "We'll just keep working on that. It's not him getting on my
page, it's me getting on his page, you know? He's been in this league a long
time, knows too much, and I've got to just catch up and just learn every day and
make sure I'm supposed to be where I'm at so I can make that catch and make that
big play."

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