GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN -- The good news is Daniel Alfredsson wants to stick around long enough to represent Sweden in the 2010 Olympics.
The bad news is that means the Senators are going to have to find a way to come up with the money to pay their captain.
Alfredsson revealed yesterday he plans on sticking around for a while after thinking about packing it in just a couple of seasons ago.
When he was asked by a Swedish reporter about playing for Sweden in 2010 yesterday, he replied: "Definitely, I would be interested ... I feel good. I can play a few more years, there's no question. I still feel that I have the fitness and the physique to do it and I still do love playing. How long, I don't know."
Alfredsson's expiry date has become a topic because his contract expires at the end of this season.
There are three option years attached to the deal with this kicker: as revealed in the Sun, if Alfredsson plays 70 games and gets at least 70 points this season, he has the option to accept $3.8 million (all terms US) for next season or declare himself an unrestricted free agent.
If he doesn't hit the 70-70 combo, the Senators have him for $3.8 million, a bargain. But the Senators certainly don't want to run the risk of having their captain become a free agent.
Talks between Senators general manager Bryan Murray and J.P. Barry, Alfredsson's agent, are in the preliminary stages. Murray said yesterday he plans on talking to Barry perhaps as early as today or tomorrow to see if they can find some common ground.
"I believe both parties would at least like to pursue the idea of a new deal. Until we have some sort of conversation, I really don't know what's going on," said Murray after watching his team practise yesterday.
Murray and Barry have talked twice on the telephone and Barry sent a note informing Murray he would be in Sweden this week and "at some point we would get together," said Murray.
There's a possibility Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who has not been involved to this point, could join talks.
"I'm hoping when Eugene gets here, we can sit down and I can fill him in on what's being talked about. At that point, hopefully he would participate," said the GM. "With a player the stature of Alfie, he's deserving of our attention."
Judging by the lines in practice yesterday, the defensive pairings look like this: Chris Phillips-Anton Volchenkov; Filip Kuba-Jason Smith and Alexandre Picard-Brian Lee, leaving Christoph Schubert and Luke Richardson as the seven and eight guys ... Something I didn't expect I'd see in Sweden where many people in the street look like they've stepped off the cover of a fitness magazine: Cigarette machines. Remember those?
Could the people here be any nicer? I needed an adapter to charge my video camera (welcome to the multimedia world) and stopped in at an audio store by the rink hoping to at least find out where I could buy one. "First of all," said the gentleman behind the counter when told we were visiting from Canada, "let me welcome you to Gothenburg." In New York, they'd they'd tell you where to plug it in, all right.
REG DUNLOP AN ICON
Every hockey fan had to feel a little sad about the passing of actor Paul Newman. Reg Dunlop, the coach of the Chiefs in Slap Shot, was one of the best characters in a movie full of them (insert your favourite Reg line here). One of my favourites, his "let 'em know you're there" pre-game speech: "Tonight, we got our fans with us. They spent their own dough to get here, and they came here to see us. All right, let's show 'em what we got, guys. Get out there on the ice and let 'em know you're there. Get that (bleeping) stick in his side, let 'em know you're there. Get that lumber in his teeth, let him know you're there!"
When you come all the way to Sweden, turn the television on and one of the first things you see is the World According to Jim, or whatever it's called, then the world is getting a little too small.