Kids want Alfredsson to return to Sens
JEAN-FRANCOIS CHAUMONT, QMI AGENCY
|Daniel Alfredsson talks to media after cleaning out his locker at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa in late April. (QMI AGENCY)
STOCKHOLM - Daniel Alfredsson is well-respected in both his homeland and in his adopted home of Ottawa.
After the Ottawa Senators were eliminated in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Alfredsson opted to represent Sweden in the world championship.
At 39, was Alfredsson taking advantage of the opportunity to salute Swedish fans one last time?
"No, that hasn't even crossed my mind," he said during an exclusive interview with QMI Agency. "I never won gold at a world championship and it's always special for me to play at home. I played my first world championship here in Stockholm (1995). I don't see this as a farewell tour."
The veteran winger said he felt good enough physically to prolong his season after the Senators bowed out early.
Alfredsson said he hasn't yet decided if he will play another season in the NHL.
In the giant hallways of the Globe Arena in Stockholm, a few hours before the team's game against Germany, Alfredsson said Wednesday he has been torn since the Senators were eliminated.
His heart is still in hockey, but his body less so. A family man, he would like to spend more time with his wife and four sons, ages four to nine.
"If it was up to my four boys, I would wear the Sens uniform again next season," Alfredsson said with a smile. "They love coming to the games in Kanata and spending time in the locker room after a weekend practice or when they don't have school.
"But for me, it's a different story. You realize other things as you get older. The start of the season is never too hard, but you lack energy during the last months. That affects things at home, too. I have less energy to play with my boys."
Before leaving for the worlds, Alfredsson said he had a good conversation with Sens general manager Bryan Murray. At no point did Murray push for a decision on next season.
"I asked Bryan that question ... and he said he would wait for me," Alfredsson said. "He didn't give me a deadline to tell him whether I'm coming back or not. I love his attitude, I feel less pressure. As soon as I know my decision I will immediately call Bryan."
Alfredsson has never worn another team's uniform during his 16-year NHL career and he is loyal to the Ottawa community.
"I consider myself very lucky to have played for only one team in the NHL," he said. "I built a very strong relationship with the city, the fans and the team. They see me as a normal guy, an honest and humble person. Fans can relate easily to me. It's an important accomplishment. I've also dedicated time to give back to the population. I love Ottawa, it's my home."