If Mike Modano can play for anyone other than the Stars….
And if Mats Sundin can play for anyone other than the Maple Leafs…
And if Jarome Iginla can play for anyone other than the Flames…
And of course if Ray Bourque can become synonymous with what just happened…
…then we were naive to think Alfredsson wouldn’t do what he just did. In fact, we were probably taking him for granted.
Detroit’s a very good team. Better than Ottawa, probably. It’s also full of players who will likely be on Sweden’s olympic team in Sochi next year–a camp that Alfredsson wasn’t invited to. If he can show that he and Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronwall, and Samuelsson can play together, he might get another shot at a medal. Let’s not underestimate that.
We’ll never know what the discussions looked like between management and Alfredsson, but you can be sure of one thing: Detroit is going for the Cup, and Ottawa is not. As of right now Detroit is spending $20MM more on salary than Ottawa. Their players are in that age bracket. They’re going for it, and they’re as good a bet as any, especially with Detroit moving out of the West next season and into–gulp–Ottawa’s new division. Detroit is going to absolutely tear the living shit out of Florida, Tampa, Buffalo, and, yes, Ottawa, instead of having to play Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville all the time.
What’s more worrying for me is the message this sends to the rest of the team. Ottawa isn’t ready to spend to win now. Ok, then… How about next season, when Michalek’s deal is up? How about in two seasons, when it’s Spezza, Methot and Anderson? In a salary cap world, the really talented players are going to get their money somewhere. It’s whether or not the team gives them something to believe in that convinces them to put on our sweater instead of another’s.
I can’t speak for James or Steven here, but this is my gut reaction in the hours following the news. Alfie is entitled to this: he’s played on more than a few cash-friendly contracts in his day, and like the players I mentioned above, when he comes back to Ottawa he’ll get a hell of a salute and his jersey in the rafters. This isn’t the end of the world. We’ll get over it. But for now: man, this just sucks.
[Note: this was posted before the Bobby Ryan trade. I still don't know if Ottawa is "going for it," but obviously the game done changed...a bit.]