Bryan Murray doesn’t want to endure another Olympic nightmare.
After losing goaltender Dominik Hasek with a injury when he suited up for the Czech Republic at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, the Senators GM confirmed to the Sun yesterday that he has concerns about captain Daniel Alfredsson suiting up for Sweden at the Vancouver Games in February.
While the separated shoulder Alfredsson suffered last week is expected to keep him out of action 4-6 weeks, the Senators don’t want their best player going to the Olympics if he’s not fully recovered.
“He’s such a valuable player to us,” said Murray. “We have an agreement that we’ll participate in the Olympics, but with Alfie it’s going to be depending on when he comes back and how healthy he really is at that time. We have to have concerns.”
The Senators lost Hasek with a mysterious adductor injury in 2006 and he never played another game for Ottawa. With Murray behind the bench, the Senators were eliminated in five games in the second round of the playoffs by the Sabres because a young Ray Emery wasn’t ready to shoulder the load.
“We lost, probably, our best chance to win a Stanley Cup by what happened to Dominik Hasek,” said Murray. “We can say all we want, but if we had him in the net, the confidence level and the performance level certainly would have been better. I thought we had that kind of team ... We have a history and that’s why we have a major concern, without a doubt.”
Alfredsson, who helped Sweden win gold in Turin, was one of 23 players named to help the country defend its title when the roster was announced yesterday in Stockholm. He hopes he’ll be back quickly so it doesn’t become and issue.
“He’s from Canada, isn’t he?” said Alfredsson with a smile when asked about Murray’s worries.
Turning serious, Alfredsson said he’ll only play in the Olympics if he’s healthy.
“It’s not going to be a decision where if I’m 50/50 I’ll go anyway,” said Alfredsson. “I’m only going to go if I feel I can play 100% and help the team. I’m sure they don’t want me to go, either, if I’m not playing games (for Ottawa) and playing fully before. I don’t see that being an issue at all.
“It’s 4-6 weeks. I’ve never had a shoulder injury before. We’ll see how it heals up and I’m sure that decision will take care of itself. Hopefully, that’s something we don’t even have to take into consideration.”
The Olympics start in seven weeks. If Alfredsson is going to be 100%, he’ll have to play for Ottawa to get ready. Murray has an idea how many games he’d like the captain to play before he leaves for Vancouver.
“He’s such a loyal organization guy, we’re certainly not going to say no to him, even if it’s only in the last week (before the Games) that he comes back. I’d like to hope that if he’s going to play (with Sweden), that he gets four or five games minimum with us before it happens,” said Murray.
“Our concern is for people in our organization and for people who are being paid a contract by our team. We’ll see. I know one thing about Alfie: If he’s healthy, he’ll play for us and he will not jeopardize anything here by going to the Olympics, instead of waiting.”
Alfredsson said he wasn’t surprised by the diagnosis.
“I was hoping for better, but I knew from the beginning it was going to be about a month,” said Alfredsson. “I just approach (injuries) the same way every time and hope you can get back as quick as you can.”