A $1-million question

Daniel Alfredsson (Bruce Bennett Studios)

Daniel Alfredsson (Bruce Bennett Studios)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

Daniel Alfredsson has about a million reasons to forget about playing hockey in Sweden this year. To play for the Swedish Elite League's V Frolunda, beginning next month, Alfredsson would have to pay more than $1 million to insure his five-year, $32.5-million US deal with the Senators. Alfredsson, 31, won't play without insurance, estimating it will cost about $33,000 per million.

"You're not going to insure the whole contract because it's very expensive," said Alfredsson. "I guess what I have to decide is if it's worth it to play and if it's worth the risk.

"There are also tax issues and that's what I'm working on right now. To be honest, I'd love to play. Do I have to play? No. But, I'd love to play because this is in my hometown and I'm not sure I'm going to get this kind of opportunity again in my career.

"It would be fun to play here -- in Europe -- in front of my friends and family because I don't plan to play another year here when my career is over in North America."

The Swedish club team can't afford to pay the insurance's costs. Alfredsson is willing to pay some, but he's looking at the possibility of splitting with Frolunda management.

He was hoping to suit up in late October, but is now considering waiting until after Christmas to make a decision. At that time, it should be more apparent whether there will be any NHL season. A vice-president on the NHL Players' Association executive committee, Alfredsson said the union has nothing against players suiting up in Europe. He's talked to several players, encouraging them to find work in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic or Switzerland.

"I tell the North American guys that if they have the opportunity to come over here during this lockout, then they should do it because this could be a neat experience," said Alfredsson. "The schedule is a lot lighter and the travel isn't like it is in North America. Even the game is different with the bigger rink."

He said he has been communicating with NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow and other committee members. Every day, Alfredsson checks the union's private website for players to get updates on where talks stand and what's next.

Alfredsson reiterated that the players will not agree to a salary cap and he said they're willing to wait as long it takes.

"Just from looking at the e-mails, watching the video updates and exchanging ideas with other players, I can't believe how unified we are as a group," said Alfredsson. "Everybody is on board and nobody will accept a cap.

"This is just my personal opinion: I believe Gary Bettman has wanted a salary cap ever since he moved over to hockey from basketball. The players aren't going to accept it. You hope something can happen, but it could be a while."

Are there any meetings planned between the two sides?

"I don't think so ... I don't think anything will happen," said Alfredsson.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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