Just last week, Sportsnet's Ian Mendes penned an article describing how this season represented what could perhaps be the ideal situation or best circumstances under which Daniel Alfredsson could retire.
Last year at this time, Alfredsson seriously contemplated retirement when he was sidelined with an injury that required season-ending surgery. At the start of this season, he told me that he was going to approach this season like it was his last in the NHL, so you have to acknowledge that retirement is a very real possibility this summer.
At the time, I kind of laughed it off (after pouring myself a stiff drink) thinking that much like the expectations surrounding the Ottawa Senators, the expectations for Daniel Alfredsson had probably never been lower.
Coming off a season in which he put up career low numbers -- 31 points in 54 games played -- Alfredsson's back/hip issue compounded matters and no one knew how well (or if) he could bounce back. Instead of worrying about who his linemates would be to start the season, fans and the media wondered whether it would be in the team and Alfie's best interests to accelerate the rebuild further and trade him to a team that could afford him a Ray Bourque-like opportunity of winning the Stanley Cup.
Since then, the Senators have acquired a legitimate second line center option to complement him and give the offense a balanced even strength attack. In the process, the captain has produced 27 goals (his highest output since the 2007/08 season) and 59 points in 75 games. Thanks to this 0.79 points-per-game pace and his relatively good health, perhaps some of us have overlooked the possibility that Alfie could actually call it a career.
Now with the team ready to embark on a trip to face the New York Rangers in game one of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals playoff series on Thursday night, Alfie conceded to reporters today that this "could be (his) last playoffs".
I suppose if the Ottawa Senators ever needed a rallying cry for the 2012 playoffs, their captain just provided it to them.