Daniel Alfredsson is back and somewhere, Kyle Turris has joined the rest of the Senators’ fan base in weeping tears of joy.
Not that Alfie’s return wasn’t expected. It was.
Even when he showed up to the 2012 NHL Awards and shook Chad Kroeger’s hand, Sens fans had the same immediate thought: damn, Alfie’s jacked.
And that was before he started training rigorously to see if his body and mind could hold up to the challenge of preparing for his 17th NHL season.
Of course, none of this stopped some traditional media outlets from running the same Alfie retirement decision story during the mundane dog days of summer. It was getting to the point that I’m surprised that no tech savvy Sens fan had created a website that borrowed the same layout that DidGomezScore.com uses. Instead of tracking whether or not Scott Gomez scored in his last game, the website could have tracked whether or not Alfie has made his decision to retire or play next year.
Entering the final year of his four year contract that carried an average cap hit of $4.875 million, there was concern that Alfie could walk away from the final year of his contract because it was so frontloaded. Set to earn $1 million this season – only $300k more than he earned per season over the past three years thanks to his previous contract’s buyout — there was worry that there would not be enough money on the table to convince him to return.
In fact, his low 2011/12 salary prompted some to suggest that the organization could offer Alfie an extension with a signing bonus to compensate for his meager earnings.
“I did talk to Bryan about doing an extension. I signed a four year deal. If you look at the average … A non-issue.”
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) July 31, 2012
Others, like former Columbus GM Doug MacLean, had the audacity to suggest that Alfie owed us another season.
“This is with all due respect to Alfredsson. I know what a great, character guy he has been and what a great leader he is,” said MacLean. “They’re sitting there wondering if he’s coming back and if he doesn’t, they have a $4.5-million cap hit. I just don’t know about that.
“In my opinion, he owes them another year and, unfortunately, (the Senators) have nothing to say about it. He can retire, I guess. Who knows? Maybe that’s the way the contract was structured.”
As it has been throughout Alfie’s career in Ottawa, it was never about the money.
After years of taking cap or team friendly contracts and even once deferring salary during the team’s bankruptcy scare, Alfie doesn’t owe this organization or its fans a thing.
By announcing his return now, it does remove any uncertainty that would have existed with a potential work stoppage looming on the horizon.
We have to hope for the NHLPA and the league to resolve their differences and get a new CBA in place by the start of the season. One would hate for the captain’s last season (potentially) to be a shortened one.