|Ottawa Senators GM John Muckler is standing behind his captain, saying Daniel Alfredsson is a class act. (Ottawa Sun/Tony Caldwell)
Don't expect the Senators to dump Daniel Alfredsson ... or even take away his "C." At least not as long as GM John Muckler is in charge.
After the Senators were eliminated in the second round by the Buffalo Sabres Saturday, Muckler was on the defensive at a year-end press conference yesterday.
"When we look at the team we've got, we're going to have to make changes, but as I told the team (Monday), I don't think there needs to be a great deal of changes," said Muckler.
"You look at the players who have come under fire (Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Dominik Hasek) and the (players) that people want us to trade and I just don't think we would get fair market value for these guys. Sure, some things are going to change, but we've still got a hockey club."
Alfredsson will be back next season with the 'C' on his chest.
"(Alfredsson) is definitely the right man to lead this hockey club," said Muckler. "No, he didn't play as well as we would have liked in the playoffs. But he's a classy individual who has been willing to stand up (and take the blame) for the team.
"He will be back and he will be the captain."
While coach Bryan Murray has said "it's probably time to move on" from Hasek, Muckler wouldn't close the door on the 41-year-old goalie.
Muckler said he wants to meet with Hasek, who missed the final three months of the season with an adductor muscle injury, before making a final decision.
It may just be that Muckler wants to tell Hasek in person that the team will move in another direction.
'WE WEREN'T MISLED'
"We weren't misled at all. I felt he was going to get back," said Muckler. "This was a muscle strain. The reason (Hasek) didn't come back is because he never felt that he was 100% and he believed he had to be 100% to help this hockey club. If he was going to come back, he had to be better than (Ray) Emery and he never felt he was."
Muckler's top priority is to meet with assistant GM Peter Chiarelli, along with Murray and his assistants Greg Carvel and John Paddock.
Muckler said he met with free- agent defencemen Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden Monday and both expressed interest in returning.
"They both expressed their likes and dislikes," said Muckler. "They both expressed they like playing in Ottawa and that they want to be here. Hopefully, we have some kind of indication before they go to unrestricted free agency."