DETROIT – Daniel Alfredsson is ready to finish one chapter of his decision to leave Ottawa and join the Detroit Red Wings tonight.
But he knows there’s another one coming.
Alfredsson meets his former team for the first time at Joe Louis Arena.
“That (first game in OTT) is going to be more emotional, no question,” Alfredsson said. “The way the schedule works out maybe it is a good thing. But you’re going to have to deal with it. It’s not something I want to hide from either. These are two good teams going at it. I really hope we can pull out a win.”
He returns to Ottawa as a member of the Wings on Dec. 1.
“Obviously, I have a lot of good friends on the other side,” Alfredsson said. “I think it will be a relief once the puck drops, there will be a lot of emotion going into the game. It’s a big exciting too.”
Alfredsson, 40, signed a one-year worth $3.5 million on the first day of free agency, leaving Ottawa where he had spent his entire 17-year career prior. He had been the league’s longest serving captain until the move.
“It’s been mixed emotions,” Alfredsson said. “I miss a lot about Ottawa, no question, at the rink and being the guy but I also enjoy not being the guy and kind of worry about myself a little more.”
Alfredsson originally said he left Ottawa to join the Wings because he felt Detroit had a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup that has eluded him throughout his career.
Then, during a press conference in Ottawa on Aug. 15, he said the move was aided by a broken promise by the Senators.
“It was a process where I talked to some friends and family,” Alfredsson said. “It was a very tough decision, especially when it happened fairly quickly. The way I looked at it at the time and still do today, it’s a huge challenge for myself personally, both on and off the ice. It’s a big challenge for our family. I will look back on this down the road as something as a stepping stone in my life in a lot of different areas, moving my family and making sure they’re fitting into schools and sports and then also testing myself, proving myself to a new organization.”
Alfredsson helped the team reduce its salary-cap hit by adding a fourth year to a deal that ended last season. All parties thought at the time Alfredsson would retire after the deal.
When the 40-year-old forward felt he had another year left in him and Ottawa didn’t feel like paying him for what he felt he was worth he began looking elsewhere.
“(I have no hard feelings) towards anyone, it was just emotions toward leaving the city and all the friends and people behind that made my time there so special,” Alfredsson said. “There was no resentment towards anybody. When I decided to come over to Ottawa in ‘95, it was the same emotions, both Gothemberg (Sweden) and Ottawa are still going to be there, that’s a very comforting feeling.”
Alfredsson leads the team with eight assists to go along with one goal through 10 games.
“There is a lot of emotion when you’ve been in one place for so long,” Alfredsson said. “I was in Gothemberg for the first 22 years of my life, leaving that was definitely harder than this move because you’re going to a different continent, I didn’t know anybody on the team, English language was OK but not brilliant. That was a huge step. If I look back on my life right now, I don’t think I would be the person I am if I wouldn’t have taken that chance. This is another stepping stone for me and my family to grow and experience new adventures.”