Granted, casting your lot with a team riding a then-22-season playoff streak wasn’t exactly like signing with the Jets, but Alfredsson put it on the line when he left the Senators after things went south with management.
(And let’s never forget the catalyst for all of this was the money.)
“It came down to a selfish decision,” said Alfredsson. “I feel with Ottawa, they’re getting closer and closer [to winning a Stanley Cup]. Definitely going in the right direction. But I don’t have the time to wait for that.”
His GM Bryan Murray put it more bluntly: “Alfie indicated that winning the Stanley Cup was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.”
So he went to Detroit where he had a better offensive season than he did with Ottawa in 2013, and finds himself in the playoffs while Ottawa is eliminated.
Sweet, sweet vindication? Via Steve Whyno of the Canadian Press, Alfredsson said:
“That’s what you play for: to get into the playoffs,” Alfredsson said after the Red Wings clinched with a shootout loss in Pittsburgh. “I played a long time in this league, I played a lot of playoff games but I haven’t won the Stanley Cup, and that’s what you dream about. That’s the only reason I’m still playing.”
Now, it’s not like Alfredsson’s departure didn’t have a hand in Ottawa’s demise. They stumbled out of the gate going 4-6-2 and without that veteran captain in the room to right the ship. Has he been there … who knows?
But he wasn’t.
Alfredsson told the Canadian Press he took no pleasure in the Senators’ pain:
“I was hoping that they would do well, there’s no question,” Alfredsson said Tuesday in Buffalo. “Other than that, my focus is solely on this team and on the present and finishing out this season strong.”
The ultimate goal is the Stanley Cup and there’s not telling if that’ll be the end result of his gamble. The Wings have shown a stunning resiliency, and no one’s counting out Mike Babcock in a seven-game series.
But the point is that Alfie is playing in those series while Eugene Melnyk is weeping over lost playoff gate revenue. It’s how he figured it would play out. And in the end, he was right.