Yesterday afternoon, Daniel Alfredsson spoke to The Healthy Scratches and addressed the uncertainty surrounding his playing career with the Ottawa Senators. To listen to the interview in its entirety, you can follow this link. Not to downplay the significance of his charitable endeavors but I’ve only included his comments that explicitly focused on his potential retirement. As always any thoughts that I have will be in bold.
When asked whether he had come to a decision, Alfie responded by saying, “I still havent… I talked to my wife Bibi here yesterday about it a little bit and I don’t know.”
To which point Steve Lloyd followed up by asking, “So this is legitimate, you really don’t know at this point. You’re going back-and-forth?”
“Well, I’m not going anywhere really. I just feel… I think I’ll know when… I’m going to try and start working out next week. I feel if I take more time, I think I don’t know if I’m going to get going again. I start working out lightly next week and I think as that goes on for a few weeks, I think I’ll know where my head is motivation wise. The energy that it takes to really put yourself through the workout that will come later in the summer,” Alfie said. “Is the will there? I hope it will be because I played pretty good this year and same thing at the World Championships. The legs were there and I enjoy being out there. But at the same time, I miss being with the family a lot. But I’m sure that (a decision) will happen by itself and a little bit at a time.”
The added perk of Alfie attending the World Championships is that it didn’t give him more downtime this offseason. With his legs still fresh and his conditioning on par, it hopefully will not be as challenging for the captain to put in the necessary work to prepare himself for another season. I don't want to read too much into his comments, but the fact that he believes he played well can only help.
“So it sounds to me that you want to get back into the routine of training and then see how you feel mentally about the training.”
“Yeah, exactly. I’ve talked to the wife and she’s very supportive of me playing.”
If this was Toronto, some media-type would have already done a mama Reimer-like feature interview with Bibi Alfredsson asking her about her 50-percent input in her husband’s decision.
When asked whether he had talked to any other players or countrymen about how they retired and the timing of their decision, Alfredsson didn’t hold back.
“I have a little bit. I saw Peter Forsberg in Sweden and I talked to him for about 15 minutes. I asked him too. His situation was a little different with the injuries and stuff and I’ve had that too but I feel healthy. Now I think it is more motivation, ‘Do I have what it takes?’ Last year my motivation was, I had back surgery and I didn’t want to finish the way I finished – by playing half a season and then hanging them up. I was determined last summer to get myself in shape and hopefully hold up and have a decent year. I had so much fun this year with this group and I’ll remember this season for a long time. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks here and I’m sure that in two or three weeks, I’ll know where I stand hopefully.”
Assuming he has some semblance of how he's feeling in the two to three week timeline, he hopefully will know where he stands by June's 2012 NHL Entry Draft. One has to wonder what his motivation to play this year will be? Is he content to be a top six forward who can help transition and bridge that gap until some of this organization's young players are ready to step into that capacity?
When asked about whether he had communicated a self-imposed timeline for him to give the organization notice on what he’s going to do, he said the organization put no pressure on him to reach a decision promptly.
“I talked to Bryan (Murray) after the season and asked him ‘what’s your preference here too in time and what works for you?’ because I don’t want to put them in a tough spot and let him know on July 5th. He said (the organization) had no timeline for it and just take whatever time I need. But it’s tough, the worst thing for me I think is to say, ‘Well, I can play another year,’ and then I go through the summer and I don’t have what it takes to get myself into the shape that you need to be in to play in the National Hockey League. And then go through a season where it is so-so. I don’t think that I could handle that mentally either, so I have to make sure that I can get into the gym and do what needs to be done to be a good player in the National Hockey League.”
The biggest reason for optimism here is that he's physically preparing for the season like he intends on playing. Hopefully his mind responds as well as his body will.
“Of course, you can go and play… maybe I could just kill penalties and play seven or eight minutes a game but I don’t know if I can do that. I struggled at times even last year when there was a month, month and a half when we had a healthy team where I didn’t kill penalties and it killed me. You know, I’ve been doing this for my whole career: I kill penalties; I play the power play; I have been in all situations. I think if I want to play, I have to feel like I can contribute in all situations, if I’m good enough obviously. I want to get to that point where I don’t want to be just a passenger; I want to be an important piece of the puzzle.”
That last sentence is the kind of inspirational slogan that belongs on a sign within a dressing room.
Culek ELC Details
While the Senators organization has been slow to acknowledge or release details concerning the signings of a few of their prospects to entry level contracts, RDS’ Renaud Lavoie revealed the details of Jakub Culek’s ELC.
Senators: Jakub Culek - 12-13 525 000 13-14 550 000, 14-15 575 000 (2 way)— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) May 25, 2012