Ottawa captain stands firm

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:38 PM ET


 Here is one guarantee Daniel Alfredsson conveniently omitted.

 "If we play the Maple Leafs in the playoffs, we're toast!"

 Okay, so you'll never actually hear those words coming from the Ottawa Senators captain, especially after he boldly predicted his team would oust Toronto in this year's edition of the Battle of Ontario.

 But surely there must be doubts swirling through Alfredsson's mind today about the future of the Sens, a skilled squad that is thin on post-season success.

 "I stand by what I said that this team would win the Cup in the near future. I still believe in this team. It just didn't happen this year," a despondent Alfredsson said after the Leafs eliminated the Sens for the fourth time in five seasons.

 "It's a pretty empty feeling right now. Things didn't go the way we expected."

 Asked if the Sens lacked heart, Alfredsson replied: "We're going to keep getting questions until we achieve our goal of a Stanley Cup."

 For that to happen, Alfredsson needs to score more than the one goal he recorded in this seven-game series.

 While Alfredsson denied there was any yelling done in the Sens dressing room immediately after the game, shouts of discontent clearly were heard.

 Maybe if they had exhibited such fire and passion on the ice, the Senators might have slain the cursed Leafs.

 Instead, the Sens often reflected the personality of stoic coach Jacques Martin, who finds himself on the hot seat in Ottawa.

 Despite the claims of a management source that it might not have been Martin's fault, his inability to beat the Leafs in the post-season could be his undoing.

 He signed a two-year extension late in the season, so the Sens could be on the hook for more than $2 million in salary should they go that route.

 Martin's future is not the only cloudy issue. Among those players without contracts heading into next season are key cogs like Zdeno Chara, Martin Havlat and Radek Bonk.

 This much is certain -- it will be a long summer in Ottawa.


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