After the final game of his season, and maybe the final game of his long and prosperous NHL career, Daniel Alfredsson's words had a familiar ring. Just ask the Ottawa Senators faithful.
When asked if he would return for a 19th NHL season, the 41 year-year-old right-winger said he will discuss the possibility with his family. If he does play, will he suit up for the Detroit Red Wings?
"At the moment, if I come back, that's the likely scenario," Alfredsson told reporters after the Boston Bruins knocked out his Red Wings in five games on Saturday.
Hmmm, wasn't it a year ago, a few days after his Senators had been eliminated in five games in the second round by the Pittsburgh Penguins, he shot down the notion of departing the Senators to play for a Stanley Cup contender?
Didn't Alfredsson answer: "Not that I can see now, no." Then, nine weeks later, he chose to leave as an unrestricted free agent to play for Red Wings instead of staying in Ottawa or taking up the Boston Bruins on an offer.
Alfredsson, who turns 42 on Dec. 11, will be a UFA once again this summer. He doesn't want to rush his decision.
"It's been a lot of new impressions for me and my family," he said. "Overall, we've had a challenging year, but a fun year. We all learned a lot.
"I'm sure it will once I start the process of evaluating myself and everything with the family. As a family we've had a fabulous time in Detroit. Everybody likes it. That's check one, I guess. Once I start that process, probably in a few weeks, that's probably going to be a factor. Looks like they have a bright future going forward."
Injury marred season
Do the Red Wings want Alfredsson back? Although he was productive with 18 goals and 49 points, he battled injuries all season and back problems after the Olympics. He missed 14 games in the regular season and Games 3 and 4 in the first-round series against the Bruins.
"That's a discussion for a later time, but health is a big part of every veteran player," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "Can he be healthy enough to play and help your team? There's no question about ability, it's about health.
"Alfie was injured a lot of the year so he didn't practise a lot. So anytime you have back pain shooting down your legs, it obviously affects the way you play, so I don't know what his situation is."
Alfredsson had a blast in helping the younger Red Wings mature and successfully lasso a playoff spot for the 23rd consecutive year. But he did admit that he would have liked to sit out a few more games down the stretch in order to rest his back. However, because the Red Wings were in such a desperate situation, Alfredsson played hurt.
"This was a different season, where I think if we would have been healthy, I think personnel could have taken some time off and been fresher down the stretch," said Alfredsson, who also helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics in February. "Now we couldn't, we had to push all the way to the end, and that took its toll, I think.
"[His back injury] will play a factor, but I don't have anything where I feel I can't do this. What I've been battling here lately, with some time off and some rehab, should be able to go into training if I decide so."
Henrik Zetterberg, another Detroit player who returned to action last week after two months off because of back surgery, hopes his fellow Swede returns for one more kick at the can.
"Danny is a great player," Zetterberg told reporters. "It's nice to have him back here. You want to have the best players possible on your team. Alfie is one of the best players out there and he showed that this year coming in here and playing really well. He's a big part of our team. I really want to have him back next year."
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