Like most folks here in Ottawa who are hockey fans, I guess I'm still in a bit of shock about this, and I guess I'm also depressed at the thought that Alfie has abandoned the Senators to their fate. But I'm not angry at him about this.
We'll never know the full story about why Alfie chose not to return to Ottawa for the 2013-2013 season (though what he aid in conference calls and what Ottawa GM Brian Murray has said publicly tells most of the story, I think), but I understand why he did it. Since he was privy to Brian Murray's explanations of where the team was going and the plans to trade for Bobby Ryan of Anaheim well in advance, it seems plain to me that Alfie didn't believe that he could win a Stanley Cup in Ottawa this coming year (and possibly not the next). And in honesty, I don't believe that Ottawa can win a Cup in the next few years, regardless of the acquisition of Bobby Ryan and anyone else that Brian Murray manages to trade for this off-season, and that's regardless of whether Alfie had stayed or whether he comes back next year for another season in Ottawa. And let's face it - Alfredsson is in the twilight of his illustrious career, he has maybe one or two seasons left, and the one thing he's never done is win a Stanley Cup.
Alfie himself said in the conference call that this was a "selfish" act on his part, and that he doesn't expect Ottawa Senators' fans to forgive him that easily for this, and judging by what I've heard in the news and papers and in on-line tweets and the like, the fans are angry with him, though still shell-shocked. But this was a *HUGE* decision on Alfredsson's part and took a lot of guts, to walk away from the only team that he's ever known over the last 17 years. And yes, I'm going to miss him terribly and I suspect so will Ottawa fans when they calm down somewhat about Alfredsson's actions, but to be honest... This is hockey, and hockey is a business. Given the deal that he got with Detroit, Alfie didn't do this for the money. He did this as he honestly believed that Detroit offers him a chance at a Stanley Cup, something that he's not tasted since he came into the league, and feels that this is his chance, even if he angers and disappoints Ottawa Senators' fans.
What I really want to say is this... Thank you, Daniel Alfredsson, for your leadership and career in Ottawa, and for being the person in the community that you were and that we've all come to love and adore. I want to wish you luck with the Detroit Red Wings, and honestly hope that you can make your Stanley Cup dreams come true this year. Your leadership on and off the ice will be sorely missed, and you cannot be replaced either on the ice or in the dressing room. I hope that you'll return to Ottawa (for another year of playing, if you decide to do so again), to finish your career properly and/or to go into Ottawa Senators management. But when the Ottawa Senators play your Detroit Red Wings this year (I can't believe I just used the word "your" in there!), I'll be cheering for the Ottawa Senators, but hoping that you have a dynamite game. I definitely won't be booing you, for sure, as you have my respect for what you did here in Ottawa as the team leader over the course of the last 17 years, and you'll always be Ottawa's Alfie and Number 11 on that jersey.