We'd been bracing for it for years now, and it finally happened;
At noon on July 5th, 2013, Alfie finally retired.
Oh sure, there's still a Daniel Alfredsson active in the league. Good pick up by the Detroit Red Wings, by the way. A solid second line two way player, still reliable for twenty goals even past forty years of age. The essence of class, leadership and a serious knack for a clutch goal. He'll sell a few jerseys, too, in a city that may in fact be the Swedish hockey capital of the world. Daniel Alfredsson is an excellent pickup, and it would've been fun if the Ottawa Senators had won that particular bidding war.
But sorry, Red Wings fans, you didn't sign Alfie.
Alfie; Alfie of the Sixth Round Pick. Alfie of the Seven Point Game. Alfie of the Pizza Line. Alfie of the Stick Toss, the Tucker Boarding or the 1000 point Hat Trick. The Alfie who deferred salary, infuriated the hated Leafs and proudly said You Know I Am for his sister and everyone else suffering from mental health issues. Alfie of the Overtime 400th Goal, the Overtime Finals Clincher and the 30 seconds left Tying Goal. Alfie of the Thousand Games. Alfie with the hair, who wore every jersey the Sens ever had, no matter how ugly, and took the C from Yashin when he was found wanting and wore it better than any modern captain, damn the arguments. Alfie, who led the Sens to 3 divisional wins, a Presidents Trophy, A Prince of Wales Trophy and eleven playoff appearances. Alfie, who won a Calder Trophy, a King Clancy Memorial Trophy, a Mark Messier Leadership Award and made six All-Star appearances, captaining the team during his last one on home ice. Alfie, who built a franchise in this city and put the number 11 on thousands of back to wear with pride.
Alfie is ours, Alfie is Ottawa's. Daniel Alfredsson, his skills and his prestige belong to the Detroit Red Wings now, and suddenly he's just another player for a divisional opponent. To wish him well would be an outright lie. I hope his team loses and I hope they lose to the Senators, giving up precious inches to us as we drive towards the playoffs and, Hockey Gods willing, the Stanley Cup.
You have Daniel Alfredsson, Red Wings, but you don't have Alfie. Alfie is forever an Ottawa Senator, our own mythological figure that the next generation of Sens fan will hear of in reverent tones. Alfie's legend ended three days ago. Senators fans are busy building our new legends. Hell, there's a new Swede on the team drafted lower than his talent level deserved (though, of course, he can't match Alfie in that). He's bringing us hardware and putting his number on our backs. You got Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit.
But you didn't get Alfie. Bobby Orr played for Chicago, and nobody cared.
See you on the ice, Alfredsson. Go Sens Go.