Daniel Alfredsson (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Although he had hoped to play this season, veteran right winger Daniel Alfredsson has reportedly decided to retire. And his choice of where to do it tells you everything about the bond he still has with the city of Ottawa.
According to a TSN report, longtime Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who spent last season with the Red Wings after 17 seasons in Ottawa, is expected to officially announce his retirement from the NHL Dec. 4 in the city in which he spent the grand majority of his professional hockey life. And by hanging up his skates in Ottawa, the the 41-year-old is showing his heart never really left the city despite that year in Detroit.
Alfredsson, who leaves the game with 444 goals and 1,157 points in 1,246 career NHL games with the Senators and Wings, had been skating in the hope of playing again, but a nagging back injury prevented him from following through. And despite leaving Ottawa in the summer of 2013 after a contract dispute with the team, Alfredsson's bond with the area remains. It's easy to see why:
He won the Calder Trophy there in 1996. He became an all-star-caliber player there. He became the franchise's captain in 1999-2000 and established himself as its cornerstone there. And of course, he led the Sens to their greatest season thus far: the 2006-07 campaign, when they won the Eastern Conference title before falling to the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup Final.
So although he left Ottawa acrimoniously in the summer of 2013 after management didn't pay him what he believed his services to be worth, there was never any question he was tied to the region forever. And one year away from home – even if he did enjoy it in Detroit (which he did) - wasn't going to stop him from reconnecting with the city once his playing days were done. If you believed that, you didn't know how much Sens fans loved him and vice versa.
Alfredsson may not officially rejoin the Senators organization immediately, but as the years pass, it would shock no one if that happened. He is simply too good of a person to harbor grudges for the rest of his life. And even if there are Sens fans out there who would've preferred he remained with the same team his entire career, they'll welcome him back with open arms if he does go that route. The Swede has been a huge part of the community and will continue to be.
Only five years ago – hell, only two years ago – people in Ottawa spoke confidently as if Alfredsson would be a Senator for life. It didn't turn out to be true, but as we'll find out officially in nine days – and with apologies to the Red Wings – Alfredsson will be considered an Ottawa Senator for the rest of his life.