Alfie gets retirement advice from legends
Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
|Ottawa Senators' Daniel Alfredsson (L) celebrates his goal with teammate Erik Karlsson during the second period of their NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Alberta, November 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)
Daniel Alfredsson hasn’t made a decision on whether this will be his final season.
Sitting just two goals short of the 400-goal milestone, the Senators captain has given serious thought to retirement and he’s sought advice from two Swedish greats to make sure whatever choice he makes is the right one.
The 39-year-old Alfredsson told the Sun he’s talked with former Toronto superstar Mats Sundin and Detroit defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom to decide the best course action on when to hang up his skates. Their advice?
“You’ve got to make sure the fire still burns to do the training in the summer to get ready for the season,” said Alfredsson.
“I talked to Mats a bit last summer. I talked to Nicklas a little bit during the Olympics about his plans when we played there last year and this summer a little bit. You want to see how it went for them and how they came to their decision.
“It’s hard. I love what I do. The tough thing is the travel, the physical part of waking up sore and not feeling as eager to practise some days as (you do) others. Some days where you’re (gone) long, the motivation doesn’t come as easy.
“Right now, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Yeah, I love what I’m doing.”
By consulting players he respects, Alfredsson is following what others have done. New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur has held similar talks about retirement with former teammate Scott Niedermayer.
Alfredsson, who has one year left on his deal at $1 million, said he hasn’t thought about next year “at all” and the father of four children will sit down with his family, GM Bryan Murray and coach Paul MacLean in the off-season.
“Once the season is over, there’s obviously evaluation ... myself, me with my family ... how everything went with health and everything else. And then I’ll talk to Bryan and (MacLean) after the season to see what they think. If they think I could add something or not. It’s a tough decision to make, no matter what. It will be hard to come to that decision. It’s not going to be as if I’m going to say, ‘Okay, I know right now.’”
Alfredsson has been buoyed the club’s success. He has emerged as a top performer with nine goals and 13 assists points in 28 games. After a difficult year, it’s fun to come to the rink and following off-season back surgery, he feels good again.
“Last year was such a disappointment for myself and frustrating when you have more in you and you can’t get it out,” said Alfredsson. “This year, there haves been a lot more games where I’ve felt pretty good.
“At the same time, I haven’t been where I still think I want to be. It has come in spurts. Some of the games have been pretty good. You have to keep pushing yourself. My only problem is I always want more. Sometimes when I don’t play as well now. I think I can handle that better.”
Does he have to realize Father Time is catching up?
“You never admit it,” said Alfredsson with a smile. “When I feel good, I feel as good as I did five years ago. So I mean it’s not that I don’t have it in me. I don’t feel that good as often as I did earlier in my career maybe.
“I still feel strong health-wise and physically where I can go in, play the game that I want to play and not just try to survive out there. I enjoy playing both ends of the rink and playing hard. Obviously, scoring goals is the best feeling in the world.”