A bitter-Swede return

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Daniel Alfredsson is going home ... and maybe for good this season. The Senators captain, who has spent the last three weeks in Ottawa, will return to his home in Goteborg, Sweden early next week to celebrate Christmas and he could begin playing for Frolunda soon after.

Alfredsson, an executive member of the NHL Players' Association, was confident the union's proposal of a 24% salary rollback would be enough to entice owners to make a deal and save the season. Now he's not sure.

Talks between the two sides went backward Tuesday after the NHL demanded a salary cap, asked the highest-paid players to take pay cuts as high as 35% and threatened to take away arbitration in a counterproposal.

"I don't know what's going to happen as far as the season goes. I hope that we'll be playing. I'm not optimistic, but we'll see ... things can change," Alfredsson told the Sun.

Alfredsson returned to Canada last month to move into a home he purchased in Kanata after signing a five-year, $32.5-million US contract with the Senators near the end of last season.

WELCOME IN FROLUNDA

Since coming back to Ottawa, Alfredsson has been practising with the 67's so he's ready to start playing next month, whether it's in the NHL or with his home-town team in Frolunda.

There has been speculation in Sweden that Alfredsson could begin playing as early as Boxing Day in a game that will be broadcast here on Rogers Sportsnet.

However, a Jan. 10 game, when Mats Sundin is scheduled to make his debut for Djurgarden against Frolunda, is a more likely return date for Alfredsson, who could be joined on the team by fellow Senator Wade Redden.

"I haven't talked to (Alfredsson) in a long a time ... He is welcome if he feels like playing," Frolunda GM Mats Ahdrian said yesterday.

Asked if he was going to wait until the NHL season is cancelled before accepting a deal with Frolunda, Alfredsson said: "No, not necessarily. I'm going to get back to playing this year one way or another. For now, I'm going to go home and just relax and have a good Christmas. Then, I'll make some kind of decision."

Alfredsson had been scheduled to join the Worldstars tour, which is making stops in Sweden this weekend, but his duties with the NHLPA had him tied up until the middle of the week.

NO PROPOSALS PLANNED

Alfredsson doesn't anticipate a new offer from the union any time soon.

"I can tell you that we're not working on anything or preparing to make another proposal. We've got nothing planned," said Alfredsson.


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