In the days leading up to the “first meeting” between the Ottawa Senators and their former captain, Daniel Alfredsson, there was a segment of fans who were on the “who cares” wagon. Just like it was in July when he chose to leave the team for the Detroit Red Wings, there are still a number of sides to take.
But now that that first meeting is over, and the Senators played unarguably their best game of the season in a 6-1 dismantling of Alfredsson and the Wings, there is a measure of closure to the relationship, at least for the time being. Think of this game as the “wake” for the relationship between the Senators and Alfredsson. Viewed from afar, on the road, it was a good way to come to the realization that the man that wore the Red, White, Black and Gold for so many years was indeed wearing just the Red and White and the Winged Wheel.
For those who hated Alfredsson and felt betrayed by the decision he made, it was a chance to say good riddance. For those who still love him for the player he was and what he meant to the team, it was a chance to wistfully get used to the fact that for at least this season, and who knows if there will be any more, he is gone and the acceptance can begin.
And then those, like myself, who are in the middle and had the disappointment on how the whole situation was handled by both sides in the negotiations (or lack thereof), it gives a sens of closure. One side of me respects the player for what he gave the city and the decision he made, but another side of me selfishly wanted that player to end his career with this team. Either way, the decision was made, and last night seeing him against his old team for the first time .
If last night was the “wake”, then the funeral will be held on Dec 1st, the first time Alfredsson returns to the city that had such a symbiotic relationship with him. He was put on a pedestal in this city like no athlete has been before, largely because he was the first one. His performance for the team put the club on the map, and for that Sens fans should always respect him for the 17 years, not the one day where he broke a lot of hearts.
On Dec 1, there will be a lot of mixed emotions and a wide range of reactions. After that, the closure will be complete and the acceptance can truly begin.