The Worst Day in Senators History: On Alfredsson's departure
Daniel Alfredsson played 17 years for the Senators and earned the right to do whatever he wants. Let's get that out of the way up front.
There is absolutely no reason for Daniel Alfredsson not to be an Ottawa Senator. None.
This is a man who served not just as the franchise's captain, but its savior. This is a man who brought stability to the organization during its times of turmoil. That the team would even allow the situation to reach this point is such a colossal disgrace that it can never be truly communicated in mere words. It's like this:
I can't even begin to express what I'm feeling. Edit: this is how I'm feeling:
This is like telling your girlfriend you're going to change your ways, having her tell you she'll give you one more chance, and then having her dump you just a month later because you haven't changed fast enough and therefore "will never change"--and then seeing her out the next day with George Clooney. Fuck you, George Clooney.
The fact that Daniel Alfredsson--who will have his number retired without debate--could be allowed to leave the team represents a complete and abject failure at every level of the organization. Why was he allowed to reach UFA status? Why was he allowed to be wooed by other teams? Why did Bryan Murray apparently wait for Alfredsson's camp to give him a number? Why give Alfredsson an incentive to look anywhere else? There are no good answers to any of these questions, I'm afraid. Not for me. I don't care what Murray or Eugene Melnyk say. Alfredsson represents the modern franchise. Letting him get away is flat out inexcusable. Pay him the maximum allowable contract, if that's what it takes.
If Alfredsson says it's about a chance to win the Cup, what does that say about the team? Sens fans feel the team, with Spezza and Karlsson back to full strength, had chance to make some noise in the playoffs next year, especially adding a top-six forward and top-four defenseman. If Alfie disagrees and chooses Detroit, it's massive indictment of the team's future.
"What does George Clooney have that I don't have?"
Well, a shot at the Cup, apparently.
There has been much made of the Senators' so-called internal cap recently. For the most part, I've been on the team's side when it comes to its financial situation. We don't know the Senators' financial situation, I've said, so how can we pass judgement on their budget? That changes today. Daniel Alfredsson has called bullshit on the entire story coming out of management's mouth. Despite our love for the team's youth, the captain of the team clearly does not feel the same way.
That tells us all we need to know about Ottawa's plans to be a $50M team: It's not good enough. It's not good enough. If it's not good enough for Alfie, it's not good enough for me. Alfredsson's departure should serve as a massive wake-up call to Eugene Melnyk. The path the team is on now is not good enough. If the Senators are merely an incubator for talent to leave for richer pastures, then they will never grow into the Cup contender the owner wants them to be. An internal cap will drive the team's best players towards greener pastures, both financially and competitively.
It just did so to the greatest player ever to wear a Senators jersey.