Captain not about to quit

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Unless he's told otherwise, Daniel Alfredsson will be back as the captain of the Senators next season.

As the players met with coach Bryan Murray for the final time yesterday at Scotiabank Place, Alfredsson said he wants to remain with the Senators and help lead them to a Stanley Cup victory.

While he has been ripped apart -- as has GM John Muckler -- in the papers, by fans and on the talk shows since the Senators were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday by the upstart Buffalo Sabres, Alfredsson stood up to his harshest critics.

"I made a decision when I was an unrestricted free agent three years ago that I wanted to stay in Ottawa with this team," said Alfredsson. "I could have gone anywhere else I wanted.

"I know people are frustrated and I know they have high expectations for us to go out and perform in the playoffs. We didn't do as well as we wanted in the playoffs and that's tough for everybody. I've dreamed every night about about bringing a Stanley Cup to Ottawa. I don't have one yet. But I don't have any questions (about returning next season). I want to bring a championship to Ottawa."

Murray backed Alfredsson.

"I see Daniel Alfredsson, I see how he performed against Buffalo and he tried to get the job done and I see him getting ripped and I just don't think it's fair," said Murray. "The way he's handled it, he's done it with class.

"Nobody puts pressure on themselves to perform more than he does. He wants to be part of the success and he does everything he can to help lead this team. The one thing I've really found out here is what a classy guy Daniel Alfredsson really is."

As Alfredsson and Murray spoke, everybody else was busy packing up their belongings and workers at Scotiabank Place were taking out the boards and glass to prepare for an Our Lady Peace concert tonight.

MUCKLER TO TALK TODAY

Senators GM John Muckler, who sources say met individually with each player yesterday, will address the media today to discuss the loss to the Sabres and the challenges he and the team face as they ponder the future.

Since owner Eugene Melnyk isn't going to pull the plug on Muckler, the 72-year-old GM is going to be charged with the job of getting this team out of its playoff doldrums.

The Senators would like to re-sign stalwart defencemen Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden, who will both become unrestricted free agents in July.

Yesterday, neither sounded sure where they stood with the organization.

"When you go through a situation where you don't win every year, then there are questions and the axe is going to fall on somebody. Who knows? Maybe, they don't want me back," said Redden.

There have been preliminary contract discussions with the agents for both players (Don Meehan, Redden and Matt Keator, Chara), but those are expected to heat up in the next few weeks. They both maintained they would like to stay in Ottawa.

"Of course (Chara would) be willing to sign with Ottawa before July 1, as long as he gets fair market value," said Keator.

Regardless of the blueliners' futures, the Senators will be making changes.

"We need to get two forwards with that intensity, character and grit you need at this time (of the season)," said Murray. "You'd like to have another skilled defenceman and we'd love to have (Chara and Redden) back. Obviously, you need to have a goalie.

"I would just say to people to be careful what you wish for (as far as massive changes go). There are a lots of cities that have teams that aren't very good and don't make the playoffs every year."


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