Alfie open to front-office role down the road

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:42 PM ET

TORONTO — Daniel Alfredsson could one day go from dressing room leader to boardroom mover and shaker.

Reacting to owner Eugene Melnyk’s comment Friday at a Sun editorial board meeting that Alfredsson can “write his own ticket” with the organization when his playing days are over, the captain didn’t rule out a move to the front office.

Alfredsson told the Sun before Saturday’s Battle of Ontario he plans to play the final three years of his contract. He said he might retire in Ottawa and would like to have a career in hockey afterwards.

Whether Alfredsson continues to call the nation’s capital home after he retires could depend on the health of wife Bibbi and his parents back in Sweden. But he confirmed he has spoken with Melnyk about a future role with the team.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do when I retire,” said Alfredsson. “I definitely feel like I’m welcome to work with the team and that would be something I’d be looking at. My whole life has been hockey. That’s what I know best.”

But he stressed: “Again, that decision will come when the time comes.”

Like former Detroit Red Wings star and current Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman before him, Alfredsson wouldn’t mind moving into the front office in an advisory role to gain management experience.

“The advisory role would allow me to find out where I fit,” he said. “Maybe you feel you can contribute in one area, but if I do decide to go that way, I feel that’s what I would do. But it’s a little bit too early.”

For now, the captain’s focus remains on leading the Senators into the playoffs and making a run at a Stanley Cup championship.

Still, the 37-year-old is at the stage in his career where he has to start thinking ahead to what he’ll do after he takes off the blades for good. The good news for Senators fans is Alfredsson still has plenty of game. He remains one of the team’s top players and his competitive fire keeps burning bright.

“I’ve still got a lot of time to think about it,” he said with a chuckle. “But it’s something as you get towards the end of your career, you don’t want to be standing there at the last second and say, ‘What am I going to do now?’ You want to have some ideas.”

Settling in Ottawa with his family — including children Hugo, Loui and Fenix — is a strong possibility.

“We know the kids love it in Ottawa. The school is good, everything is set up for us to stay here,” said Alfredsson. “It’ll be a tough decision, but as it looks now, we’ll probably stay here.”

Spezza back in the middle

C Jason Spezza went for a 20-minute skate before deciding to suit up against the Maple Leafs Saturday. He didn’t like sitting out Friday’s opener against the Sabres at Scotiabank Place. “It’s always tough to watch games. Especially the first game of the year — I was definitely frustrated to miss a game like that,” said Spezza. “You see a loss and you want to come back and respond as a team. I want to help out if I can, but I don’t want to put myself in a bad situation or the team.” Spezza wasn’t hard to notice Saturday night: He coughed up the puck to Mikhail Grabovski, which led to the Leafs’ opening goal by Nikolai Kulemin at 1:38. The slick centre did atone somewhat for that gaffe later on, depositing the puck into a wide-open net for Ottawa’s only goal midway through the third. Alfredsson earned an assist, leaving him just seven points shy of 1,000 for his NHL career.

Off the glass

There was no rematch of the Alex Kovalev-Francois Beauchemin hostilities that took place in the pre-season matchup between these two teams. “I was as shocked as anybody to see Kovalev with his gloves off,” said Leafs D Mike Komisarek, a former teammate of Kovalev’s in Montreal, of last month’s tilt. “What choice did Beauchemin have? Kovalev basically ordered him to go.” ... Got invited to watch Nazem Kadri make his pro debut with the AHL’s Marlies at the Ricoh Coliseum Saturday afternoon. I politely declined.

Around the boards

A big concern for the Senators: The way they’ve started the first two games. They didn’t register their first shot Saturday night until eight minutes into the first. At that point, they were already down 2-0. The Senators have been outshot a total of 29-15 in the first period of the two games they’ve played this season ... Somebody needs to sit D Erik Karlsson down before his game gets much worse. To say he hasn’t played well is an understatement. He was horrible in the first.

Parting shot

The Bruins have accomplished something the Senators never could by signing towering D Zdeno Chara to a seven-year, $45.5-million US extension. Somewhere, former Senators GM John Muckler has to be shaking his head wondering why he could never get Chara signed to a long-term deal. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, a former assistant GM in Ottawa, wasn’t going to make the same mistake as his former boss.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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