TORONTO -- The NHL lockout hasn't been a complete waste of time for Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.
While he'd rather be earning the five-year, $32.5-million US contract he signed with the Senators midway through last season, Alfredsson is making the most of his time with his new wife Bibi Bachman and son Hugo.
Forced to leave Sweden because he would have been taxed on his worldwide wealth if he remained in the country for more than six months, Alfredsson has been spending the last month in Spain on an extended honeymoon.
Since there aren't any places to skate, Alfredsson, an accomplished golfer, has been spending time on the links and he had one of his career highlights last month on a trip to the world-famous Valderrama layout.
HITS GOLF COURSE
For those who don't swing the sticks, Valderrama was the site of the 1997 Ryder Cup and is considered one of the best golf courses in the world.
A couple of weeks ago, Alfredsson had a chance to play it with Scottish star Colin Montgomerie.
Playing in the Pro-Am before the Global Masters, the final event on the European PGA Tour, Alfredsson was able to get a spot through a buddy who works for Volvo and he was thrilled that it happened.
"Monty is not a hockey fan," said Alfredsson, a vice-president on the NHLPA's executive committee, following meetings in Toronto. "His caddy was a bit of a hockey fan, but Monty likes soccer. He's not big into ice hockey.
"It was really exciting ... a big thrill to meet somebody like that. He was a great guy to be with. We had a lot of fun. He was very nice and a real gentleman. Unfortunately, all I got signed was the photo of the four of us staying together. I had a camera in my bag, but I was so excited that I forgot to take it out. I didn't even know that this was going to happen."
For the record, Alfredsson, a member at the Royal Ottawa, shot a sizzling 75 with Monty, but admitted to playing the tough course at 5,800 yards -- which is about 1,400 yards shorter than the pros.
"We were playing the executive tees," said Alfredsson.
Alfredsson, who signed what could amount to an eight-year deal with the Senators, plans to move into a home he bought in Kanata in December.
Alfredsson plans to stay in Ottawa until Christmas, by which time the NHL should have decided whether there will be a season.
"I'm not optimistic," Alfredsson said of playing any part of the 2004-05 season.
That's why he has started making other plans. He hasn't changed his mind about playing for Frolunda -- his home town -- in the Swedish Elite League if there's no NHL season.
REDDEN IN SWEDEN?
He has worked out insurance issues and don't be surprised if he's joined by Senators defenceman Wade Redden. The two discussed the possibility this week.
"That would be the best thing for me, to keep playing if there's not going to be any hockey here. Yes, it's probably going to cost me money once you work out the cost of insurance, but I feel it would be the right thing," said Alfredsson.
And no, Alfredsson isn't worried about stealing some poor Swede's job if he does decide to play. In most cases, European teams carry junior players for development and everybody is excited to be getting NHL players.
"I know this isn't good for the North American fans, but I know the media and the people in Europe are excited they're getting the chance to see these players," said Alfredsson.
If there is hockey in Canada, will Alfredsson's locks be peeking out of his helmet again?
"I'm not sure ... I started growing it back, but then I shaved it off again. I kind of like it like this, there's not much work that has to go into it," said Alfredsson.