Alfie says fans bored

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

The fact that Daniel Alfredsson is a vice-president of the NHL Players' Association shouldn't be taken lightly.

But Senators hockey fans probably don't care too much, not after what they've been through -- with the NHL lockout continuing.

The only place the fans want to see Alfredsson stickhandling is on the ice.

Back in town to move his family into a new home he had built on the outskirts of Kanata, the Senators captain has been getting an earful.

"The fans tell me that they're totally bored on Saturday nights," said Alfredsson during a lunch-hour session with members of the Ottawa media yesterday.

NO MORE MOVIES

"They tell me that they don't want to watch movies anymore. These are guys who are in their 50s and I think one lady was about 65.

"They're usually polite and they all say the same thing: They want to see hockey.

"Of course, they might be saying one thing to me and another to someone else. Mainly, I would say, they've been supportive."

Even Alfredsson, who will be celebrating his 32nd birthday on Saturday, admits he's getting anxious while skating with the OHL's Ottawa 67's everyday while waiting for the NHL lockout to get settled.

This would be Alfredsson's 10th year in the NHL. Instead of collecting from the five-year, $32.5-million (all terms US) contract he signed in the off-season, Alfredsson is waiting ... and waiting.

He'd like to get back to playing, but not at any cost.

As one of the major players in these negotiations with executive director Bob Goodenow and president Trevor Linden, Alfredsson is determined to help make sure the right deal is in place.

Nobody is sure what's going to happen tomorrow during a bargaining session in Toronto with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, but the players will make an offer they believe can save the year.

Since the new offer won't contain the $31-million salary cap which Bettman has been trying to achieve for the last 15 months, there's no telling if the owners might walk away from the table after taking just a cursory look.

"We all want to play hockey and we felt like we had to do something because there was nothing coming from the other side," said Alfredsson. "The whole issue with this was the timing: We didn't know when to present it."

Why would a salary cap be so unacceptable?

"Because it's going to put a limit on the market and we want a marketplace system where teams can decide what they want to spend," said Alfredsson. "We aren't going to to accept a cap because it doesn't work.

"In a marketplace, teams can spend as much as they want to spend. It's up to the teams to decide who they want to keep and what they want to spend on each player.

"I personally feel that with a cap you'd have less loyalty to teams and more players moving because teams would decide they couldn't afford to keep a guy because of the cap.

WON'T ACCEPT CAP

"We don't have to take a salary cap now and we're not going to take a salary cap next September either."

Alfredsson isn't sure what is going to happen at tomorrow's meeting.

He is hopeful there will be a season, but he hasn't cancelled plans to play on the Swedish portion of the IMG Worldstars Tour later this month and he'll suit up for V Frolunda in Gotenburg if the year is cancelled.

"One way or another I'm going to play hockey this year," said Alfredsson. "Hopefully we'll be back to playing over here."


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