Now that the Ottawa Senators Cinderella season has finally come to an end, questions abound. Will good soldiers Konopka and Carkner be back as both are free agents? Will Peter Regin (REMEMBER THAT GUY?!) be qualified as an RFA now that the Senators have reinforcements on the way? What kind of mega-deal will Norris nominee Erik Karlsson sign this summer? What will the goaltending situation look like next training camp with Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner battling it out? All of these questions will be looked at this summer by management and media alike. Heck, you will see many of them in this Nuggets feature.
The biggest question heading into next season for the Sens though, is none of the above. Its whether longtime captain and face of the franchise Daniel Alfredsson has finally had enough, and whether or not he will be back for another 82-game season. Whether he is ready for the grind, the summer workouts and whether he wants to finally spend more time with his wife Bibi and their 4 young kids.
Alfie has done the sensible thing and told the media that he is going to take the next little while to think it over with his family before deciding whether or not he is going to play next year. That hasn't stopped the media (and myself) from overanalyzing all of the available evidence looking for clues as to which way the captain is leaning.
Yesterday it came out that Alfie, he of the postseason concussion, had announced that he was going to play for Sweden in his 7th world championship. This year, the tournament is being held in Sweden, and the host nation is expected to ice a very strong team, with stars like Henrik Zetterberg and Erik Karlsson committed to going. This could be seen as a good sign for Sens fans. Alfie clearly must still have the desire to play, right? Alfie must not be having any lingering effects of his concussion, right? Right?
Well, maybe. However, before Senators fans get too excited, take a look at this quote:
"Being able to go back to the place where my career really started was a big part of the decision"
Seems innocuous enough right? Well yes and no. Alfredsson played in his first world championship in Stockholm in 1995, right before signing with the Senators. He scored an overtime winner against the Canadians in the semi-final. He said that going to this tournament also in Stockholm would be "like completing the circle". Pretty ominous, no?
Either way, should be excellent to see Alfie suit up and play for the Tre Kronor, especially with Karlsson and prospect Jakob Silfverberg committed to the team. Here's hoping he doesn't win, so that this isn't an "icing on the cake" moment.
One more year.
Links after the jump.
- Here is Allen Panzeri with the story on Alfie heading to the world championship. [Panzeri]
- BEST LINK TODAY FOLKS! Amazing, long feature on the next face of the franchise, Erik Karlsson. Quotes from him on draft day that make me smile, quotes from Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey that make me proud and quote from Bryan Murray that make me love him more than I already do. [Andrew Duffy]
- As mentioned above, GM Bryan Murray has quite a few decisions to make this summer, especially on to-be UFA's and RFA's. Here is Allen Panzeri on what BM faces heading into the summer. [Panzeri]
- Don Brennan talks to some of the Sens as they head into the summer, and they all seem pretty excited to get it started next season. Personally, I'm excited to see Kyle Turris after a proper summer work out program/training camp. I think he'll have a good year next year. [Ottawa Sun]
- The Hockey Writers does a short little year-in-review for the Senators. [THW]
- Lastly, what would an Ottawa Senators season be without questions about Jason Spezza? At least Ken Warren realizes the Senators would be a lost cause without him. [Ken Warren]
Around the League
- For those of you that haven't been able to watch as much hockey as you wanted so far this spring, NHL.com has a highlight package looking at all of the madness that has taken place so far [NHL.com]
- After taking down the titan Detroit Red Wings, the Nashville Predators are having a devil of a time with the desert dogs of Phoenix. The Coyotes are up 2-0 after a pair of high scoring games. Naturally, blame needs to be assigned, and Keith Jones decided Russian import Alexander Radulov would be a lovely target. [Puck Daddy]
- After being knocked out of the first round by Chris Neil, Brian Boyle is finally starting to feel better. Even though this guy made himself into a hell of a villain in the eyes of Senator fans, the Rangers are hoping to get him back soon, because he was playing very well. [Dan Rosen]
- St. Louis breakout defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was driven into the boards on a scary hit by Dwight King in game one of the Kings-Blues series. His status is questionable heading into game two and that would be a horrible blow to the Blues chances in these playoffs.
- In keeping with that series, the Kings (my bandwagon team by the way. So fun to watch) are currently unbeaten on the road in these playoffs. Their simple game really lends itself to the road game, and thats very valuable in the playoffs. [NHL.com]
- Last link, the BEAST OF THE PLAYOFFS Danny Briere put on a show again yesterday. There are three things you can count on in this world: death, taxes and Briere playoff points. Yesterday he pulled a Chris Campoli by scoring two overtime winners in the same game. After the first one was ruled to be kicked in, he scored on a slapper about 2 minutes later. [Puck Daddy]