Alex DeBrincat takes high road after Sens fans boo him into oblivion in Ottawa return

Senators fans and former teammates let DeBrincat have it every time he touched the puck during a tense return to Ottawa with the Red Wings on Saturday.

Brady Tkachuk and the Senators crowd gave Alex DeBrincat a cold welcome in his Ottawa return. (Getty Images)

Senators fans showered Alex DeBrincat with boos during his first game in Ottawa as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. If that treatment bothered DeBrincat, he didn’t take the bait to say so publicly.

Maybe it helped to get the last — or at least the latest — laugh. While DeBrincat failed to record a point for the first time with Detroit, the Red Wings beat the Senators 5-2 on Saturday.

Perhaps this win (and a hot start) made it easier for DeBrincat to take the high road after the game.

"I was pretty prepared for it," DeBrincat said of being booed by Senators fans, via Ian Mendes of the Athletic. "I kind of expected it. I’ve said it a couple of times, it’s a very passionate fan base … They have a great team in there, and unfortunately things didn’t work out the way everyone wanted them to.

"But I’m happy with where I am. I know they’re going to be good for quite a long time and there’s going to be a lot of good battles between us."

Senators fans boo DeBrincat in Red Wings win

Heading into Saturday, DeBrincat revealed that he’s never been booed before, but expected it to happen in Ottawa.

While DeBrincat insisted that certain behind-the-scenes details were blown out of proportion, he said he has no hard feelings toward the Senators. But some fans clearly still have some, as did media members who believed the Ottawa faithful had "every right" to boo DeBrincat.

Former player Marc Methot hoped the team wouldn’t "coddle" DeBrincat in his return.

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch captured an interesting angle of fans booing DeBrincat from his first shift.

Mendes points out that the Senators presented DeBrincat with a quick welcome back message, but there wasn’t much to it — and fans booed it heartily, too.

Brady Tkachuk said all the right things about remaining friends with DeBrincat despite his stay being short in Ottawa. On Saturday, DeBrincat wasn’t necessarily spared from The Tkachuk Experience, though.

Late in the first period, DeBrincat drew a penalty that left more than just Senators fans and media fuming.

Either way, the Red Wings made the Senators pay with a power play that went 3-for-5, including converting on the penalty DeBrincat drew. It’s arguable that a young Senators team allowed the emotions of DeBrincat’s return (and maybe a brewing rivalry) to get the best of them in what Tkachuk described as a "frustrating" loss.

In the long run, did the situation actually work out for everyone?

Again, this isn’t the last laugh, but instead an early chapter in a potential rivalry.

The Senators and Red Wings face off three more times in the regular season, with their next game in Detroit on Nov. 16.

Immediately, it’s easy to see why DeBrincat would see this divorce with the Senators as a win for everybody, as he’s playing close to home and starting hot in a bigger role than he likely would have with the Senators.

Senators fans can take solace by asking: would the team have been comfortable handing an eight-year extension to Jake Sanderson if DeBrincat signed a long-term deal with Ottawa?

Ultimately, it will take years to find out who truly gets the last laugh.