For quite some time, the organization has been praising the efforts of its coaching staff and players for its dedication and leadership over the past two seasons as this club transitioned from being terrible with no sense of direction to one that is imbues its fans with confidence that it destined for bigger and better days.
Earlier today, I did briefly touch upon Paul MacLean's Jack Adam Award win, but I neglected to hit on Daniel Alfredsson being named as the recipient of the 2013 Mark Messier Leadership Award present by COLD-FX.
According to the press release, the Moose solicits suggestions from club and League personnel and NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the winner is Messier’s alone.
It's quite the honour, but sadly, there's no mention of any Frito Lays gift basket for whomever wins the prize. Poor Alfie.
Alas, whether Alfie received some tasty salt and vinegar chips or not, on days like yesterday, it's nice to receive some validation from the NHL world that the efforts and the achievements of Ottawa's staff and players were worthy of recognition. Even if in the greater scheme of things, we may not look back on this days and remember either MacLean or Alfie for winning their respective awards.
That may sound harsh, but I don't look back Jacques Martin's time here in Ottawa and say, 'Now that was a Jack Adams winning coach!'
I look back on his time and see a man who brought a Senators team from mediocrity to the brink of a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Despite overseeing some wildly successful regular season teams, his legacy in Ottawa will forever be associated with his teams' playoff shortcomings and those four playoff series losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the same vein, I'm never going to look at Alfie's career in retrospect and look at this Messier Award as some defining moment of his career. Hell, just reading through the list of achievements that accompanied Alfie's Messier Award press release, I realized that what I was reading doesn't just merit a leadership award, they're the qualifications of an athlete who merits a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
More Alfie, Alfie, Alfie!!!!
In the aftermath of winning the Messier Leadership Award, Alfredsson spoke with the hosts of NHL Live about MacLean, winning the award and where he is in the process for deciding whether or not he wants to retire.
The following is a transcript of what was said:
Q. As the captain, how did you keep your teammates motivated and in line when you were losing guys left and right to injuries throughout the season?
"Fortunately, they didn't all go down at the same time. We got off to a good start, then we lose Jason, which is a big loss for us. We still were able to win games. We knew longterm maybe it's going to be tougher.
Then a few more weeks, we lose Erik and Milan at the same time. Now we were in tough.
I think the coaching staff did a tremendous job just keeping us focused. We can't worry about things that we can't control. It is what it is. We've got good hockey players in here.
Fortunately we were able to win some more games. Craig was playing unbelievable. Then he went down with an ankle injury. Fortunately we had great depth in goaltending that allowed us to stay in games.
I think because it was spread out and we were able to win some games in between gave us confidence that, We can do this. It took a lot of hard work. All the guys that came up and played did a good job of following our system and getting adjusted pretty quick.
I'd say goaltending is a huge part of it, but also us believing that we could still do it as a team. We knew everybody had to pull their weight, and they did."
Q. Daniel, curious, your reaction to Paul being named the Coach of the Year.
"Yeah, it's a great day for our organization. Paul has had a great start to his head coaching career. I think he's been well-groomed in Detroit, knew what to do when he came in. He was nominated last year, then winning it this year, it's quite an accomplishment.
His leadership has been something that we definitely needed as an organization. We were kind of going backwards until he came in, steadied the ship, got us going in the right direction.
It's very well deserved. I'm really happy for him."
Q. You're in the process of deciding what you're going to do for the future. Where are you in your thought process?
"It hasn't really started yet, to be honest. I just allowed myself to take it easy, spend some time with the family, to relax, get a feeling of how my body feels, how I feel.
Probably the next few weeks here I'll start thinking more concrete about it. The people around town has been unbelievable. They've all been very positive and supportive."
Q. What does it mean to you to get an award named after a guy like Messier, knowing his leadership?
"It's probably the most ? how do I put it ? humbling experience I guess. Mark has been one of the guys you look up to. Throughout my career, him, Gretzky, Yzerman. I was fortunate enough to meet Mark in '94 in Sweden before I came over. They were doing their tour during the lockout. Came out, had dinner with us. I got to meet him. Just a great person.
Not only person. He could play the skill game. He could play the physical game. Offensive, defensive, good on faceoffs. He did it all. The biggest thing with him, he brought the team together, he made the team, you know, perform to his levels. That's what great players like that do.
It's a great honor to get this award, for sure."
Q. You said you're going to go through a few weeks of a process. What kind of process do you think you need to go through?
"Talk to my wife, talk to my agent. I'm going to talk to Bryan as well, and Paul, just to get a feel, I guess, for how I feel. I can't say I have a plan exactly how I'm going to follow that, but I'm going to talk to people and go from there and see where it takes me."