Daniel Alfredsson may soon find himself squeezed out of the NHL by the present lockout.
The versatile captain of the Ottawa Senators came back from career-threatening surgery last season, leading his team to a surprise playoff berth in the process. He provided a relatively young team with two invaluable assets: steady leadership and bankable production.
On the whole, Alfredsson finished the 2011-2012 season with 27 goals and 32 assists for 59 points. He added two goals in four playoff games to highlight a remarkable comeback campaign.
Unsurprisingly, there was great speculation over Alfredsson’s future towards the end of last season and into the early off-season.
Would he return for another season? Would he stay to lead a young team even further into the playoffs next season?
These questions and others like them continued to dominate hockey discussions in the nation’s capital until the end of July when Alfredsson finally put them to rest. In a public statement, he announced his intention to return.
“I’m excited to get ready for another season,” said Alfredsson. “I’ve been training for about a month and a half and my body feels a lot further ahead of where it was last year at this point. I expect to come into camp stronger and fitter than I did last year.”
“I spoke to my family and we are all on the same page – if I am motivated to continue to play, then they will be supportive of me playing,” he added.
However, it now appears that Alfredsson may be second guessing his return. Although he remains committed to playing another season of hockey, the lockout has pushed more important matters to the forefront of his life: family.
Alfredsson has been spending greater time at home where he now refers to himself as “the official toilet wiper” for his four boys.
Forced off the rink, Alfredsson is embracing domestic life. This could spell trouble for the Senators and their hopes of capitalizing on last season’s unexpected accomplishments if Alfredsson decides to take his puck and go home.
“I think the longer it’s been going here I don’t feel as eager to get back. I’d say I’m more relaxed. If it happens, it happens,” Alfredsson recently told the Ottawa Sun when asked about his new position at home.
At home or on the ice, he’s the go-to guy for the cast of young characters that surrounds him.
It would be a tragedy for the Senators to lose their beloved captain over the lockout. Alfredsson’s departure would be one of many unwelcome loses felt by fans since the lockout began.
As a proud Leafs fan, I believe the league will be all the poorer without pesky #11 buzzing around the net. Alfredsson’s a franchise player and one of the most recognized faces in the NHL.
Like him or hate him, everyone has an opinion on Alfredsson.
Having said this, Alfredsson has good reason to stay at home and it’s nice to hear a hockey player talk about the love of family over the love of money for once.
Whether Alfredsson comes back for another season or decides to call it quits, let’s hope his fellow players come back to the same sense of priorities as him.
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