Almost from the moment the final buzzer went on the Senators season on Friday night in Pittsburgh, attention turned to Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson. The biggest decision surrounding the Ottawa franchise this summer will come not from the General Manager, but from the Captain himself.
At 40 years of age, does he have it in him to return for the grind for another season?
Skill wise, he still has the ability to compete at this level. He was the Senators best forward on many nights this season and his leadership skills are much needed on a young Ottawa team. The question has not been the talent level, but like the last couple of years the concern is the desire to keep in playing shape and willingness to battle through another 82 game grind.
If you were to ask me, the captain will return. I think the lure of a potential Olympic appearance will be one factor. The chance to represent his country one final time on the biggest international stage will be a big factor. As long as he gets some assurance that he would indeed be on Team Sweden, that might be too much to resist. Another influencing factor could be the number of young Swedes in the dressing room. Being the leader is one thing, but the fact that there are 4 of his countrymen (with a possibility of another one or two in Claesson and Wickstrand) for him to mentor for another year could also draw him back.
Finally, the pride factor could play a role in his decision making. Rightly or wrongly, there was a lot of attention put on his post-game comments and he will not want that to be his final lasting impression. Not that people’s impression of him is important to the individual, because he doesn’t have that type of ego. However, I think he realizes the way his comment was perceived and despite the explanations after the fact, the words that will be remembered are “probably not”.
If “probably not” is a factor at all in bringing Alfredsson back, then I am glad they were said.
I think you will all join me in calling for “ONE MORE YEAR”