With all of the back and forth between the Senators’ management and Daniel Alfredsson I decided to it would be a good idea to see what the other side had to say about it.
Jared Crozier from Senshot was gracious enough to answer a few question about the Alfredsson situation from the point of view of a Senators’ fan.
What was your first reaction when you found out that Alfredsson was not resigning with Ottawa and instead choose Detroit?
Jared Crozier: I went through a bunch of emotions that first day. First it was shock, then it was disbelief, rather surreal. Then when details started to come out it was anger (at both sides) that they had let the situation get that far. Then it settled to extreme disappointment, and that is pretty much where I still sit right now.
The whole city was in shock. Just think if Steve Yzerman or Nicklas Lidstrom had finished their career in Boston or Toronto, and that is what Ottawa went through. The big difference was Detroit has the legacy of Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Terry Sawchuk among others in their long history. Alfie has essentially made the Senators what they are, having been a part of them for 17 of their 21 seasons.
Me: Thankfully we never had that problem because our owner always ponied up the money and we won these shiny trophies called Stanley Cups.
How did you feel about Eugene Melnyk’s rant on Alfredsson and the fact that he said Ottawa will best Detroit in the standings?
JC: Melnyk has a long history of opening his mouth when he probably shouldn’t, in my opinion. I understand his point of view and the Senators are his team, but some times things are simply better left unsaid. This is probably one of those cases. The owner of a franchise sometimes needs to show more class and not always need to get the last word in every situation. Had he remained relatively silent and not pointed fingers squarely on Alfredsson and his agent J.P. Barry, then Alfredsson wouldn’t have fired back and the situation, although unfortunate, could have remained a business decision. Melnyk made it personal and Alfredsson had too much pride to not respond to defend himself. We might never know what the complete truth is, but it’s probably somewhere in the middle. Egos collided and in the end nobody won.
As for Melnyk’s claim that Ottawa will best Detroit in the standings, I think he has to think that way. And I don’t know for sure who will end up higher, but I think each of them will have a pretty equal shot at winning the Cup. I wouldn’t necessarily consider Detroit having an advantage per se, although that could very well be looking through Ottawa colored glasses. I am sure your readers will have a different take on it, as well they should. My first though was if winning the Cup was Alfie’s true goal, then taking an Iginla-like contract in Boston or Pittsburgh would have been the better choice. I think the road to the Cup runs through those two cities this season. Every other contender has a fighting chance, but those two are a head above. There are no guarantees, and I don’t think Alfie dramatically raised the odds of him lifting the Cup with this move.
Me: I agree, Melnyk pulled out his best Dan Gilbert impersonation and could end up with egg on his face after the season is over.
It seems that the team’s management does not want to take any of the blame on the Alfredsson debacle, do you feel they are responsible for him leaving Ottawa?
JC: I really think it’s a situation where all parties are responsible. Everyone that had a stake in the matter, from Alfie, to J.P. Barry, to GM Bryan Murray to Melnyk all share some of the blame. Alfredsson chose to taint his legacy over a couple of million dollars. His refusal to budge or make contact (allegedly) with the Senators after the initial request and negotiate further to get a deal done was a contributing factor. Barry has some bad history with Melnyk over the Heatley saga and I am not sure as to his desire (or willingness, or preference for that matter) to keep Alfie in Ottawa. Murray was placed in a tough situation because he was at the mercy of Alfie’s desires and interpretation of the promises made on one side, and Melnyk’s internal budget on the other. Melnyk should have realized what Alfredsson has meant to the city and the franchise, and his past history had earned him some goodwill to get closer to the numbers Alfie was requesting (or demanding). Truth be told, Alfredsson the player is probably a $3-4M player at this point in his career. I would have been willing to go higher to keep Alfredsson the person in town because of what he has meant to the people in the city and the fans of the team.
I don’t think I have seen this city as divided as it still is on the issue. There are those on team Sens, and those on Team Alfie so to speak. Personally, I fall right in the middle and I am disappointed in all parties involved. He was a once in a franchise player, with a once in a franchise legacy, and 4 parties contributed to the fall of that legacy much to the detriment of the player and the team.
Me: I believe Jared is wrong in his claim that Alfie is a $3M-$4M player at this point in his career. He tallied 26 points in 47 games, which puts him at around 50 points in a full season and a player like that is worth a $5.5 million deal.
Will the team falter without Alfredsson’s leadership or will other players step up and fill his role?
JC: This team has more than its fair share of leaders. Jason Spezza, who will most likely be named captain, has really matured on and off the ice and has developed into a true leader, much of that is probably Alfredsson’s influence. Chris Phillips is also part of the core leadership group as is Chris Neil. Both have demonstrated very solid leadership and have been around for a long time. Actually two more players who will form the core group of leaders are Erik Karlsson, who showed maturity beyond his years and a combination of intensity and leading by example throughout his injury saga last season, and Marc Methot, who after just one year has become a pillar of strength on and off the ice for the Senators. They will not be lacking in that category whatsoever.
Me: Some one will step up, but it will take a special person to command the room like Alfredsson did while he was the captain.
Where do you project the Senators and Red Wings to end up in the standings?
JC: I am in the middle of my team-by-team season previews now, unveiling a new team every day. I am starting at the bottom and working my way up the standings by division. I haven’t yet made it that far and don’t want to ruin the suspense, but I will give you a little preview. I have both Ottawa and Detroit occupying Atlantic Division playoff spots with no need to cross over to make it, nor do they need to worry about being bumped by the fifth place team from the Metropolitan Division in the crossover. Both teams some question marks heading into the season, but both clubs have the depth and talent base to make some noise.
Me: Well at least we both make the Playoffs, but I will come out and say I expect the Red Wings to best Ottawa in the standings this season.
A big thank you to Jared over at Senshot for answering these questions and helping us understand the situation from an Ottawa Senators fan’s perspective.