Former Ottawa Senators’ captain Daniel Alfredsson finally broke his silence almost 5 weeks after signing as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings.
He spoke to the media at The Royal, which is one of the charities in the City of Ottawa that he has supported over the past few years. He spoke about continuing his support of the charities he has been involved in, even though he will be playing in a different city.
Then came the comments regarding the departure, which were a little more revealing than many expected him to come out with.
He spoke about the journey he and his family have been on for the past 18 years. He thanked the City, Fans, Organization, teammates and the Royal as well as the Boys and Girls Club, his two major charities.
He got into why he decided to move, and noted that for his last contract he was asked to help team manage cap by adding an extra year, fully expecting to retire and not play the 2012-13 season at the time.
He asked the team last summer for an extension at a fair level. Negotiations stalled, but he played the season out. In June, he decided had another season in them, reminded about promise made a year before for a fair extension. Again, talks staled and then teams started calling when the window opened.
Detroit called, and he liked style of play, they needed right handed shot, and liked the enthusiasm of the team. He understood it was hard for the team to agree to his terms, but still has respect for Bryan Murray and the team.
The decision was for him to challenge himself as a hockey player and looks at it as a new adventure for his family.
He also said he wished he could take the comment back about Detroit having a better chance to win, but both were great teams with a bright future.
In the aftermath, it basically comes down to the team apparently reneging on a promise to give him a fair value contract extension last summer, and again before free agency opened. I will leave it to you to decide what “fair value” would have been, but as I have said before, the team sort of owed it to him in my opinion given the fact that he took less than market value over the past few years and took a bath in the final season that nobody thought he would play.
All in all, he pointed the finger a little more than I had expected, but if Eugene Melnyk hadn’t fired the first volley in the Ottawa Citizen article on the weekend.
I don’t know how much this really cleared up, but it does provide closure to the situation. As expected, we will never know the whole truth and it probably lies somewhere in the middle.