Alfredsson’s post-lockout priority would be domestic duty, not European play

Meet Daniel Alfredsson, stay-at-home dad. For the Ottawa Senators captain, the silver lining in the black cloud of the looming NHL lockout is the opportunity to take on a bigger role in the everyday lives of his four young boys.

Alfredsson’s post-lockout priority would be domestic duty, not European play

Meet Daniel Alfredsson, stay-at-home dad.

For the Ottawa Senators captain, the silver lining in the black cloud of the looming NHL lockout is the opportunity to take on a bigger role in the everyday lives of his four young boys.

Hugo is in Grade 4 and Loui is in Grade 1. Fenix began half days in junior kindergarten on Tuesday and William Erik is a 16-month-old toddler, trying to keep up with his brothers.

Accordingly, the morning rush is a tad frantic. Who knows? At some point, Alfredsson may even be cutting sandwiches in half, chopping up cucumbers or throwing apples into lunch bags to help get the kids on their way.

Then there’s the extracurricular stuff. After Alfredsson returns home from players’ association meetings in New York on Wednesday, he will be off to Peterborough on the weekend, a proud hockey dad watching Hugo’s competitive atom team play. The Senators captain even was on the ice for Hugo’s practice last week, helping out the head coach, who just happens to be Henrik Alfredsson, Daniel’s younger brother.

With all that going on, Alfredsson won’t be calling his agent looking for an opening to play somewhere in Europe if, as expected, NHL owners lock out players at midnight on Saturday.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said, with a laugh, following Tuesday’s informal skate at the Bell Sensplex, his first full scrimmage since returning from Sweden. “The children are in school and they have their activities and my wife (Bibi) needs all the help she can get. If there’s no hockey, I will be able to help out at home.”

Alfredsson, who turns 40 in December, certainly looks and sounds refreshed following his summer with family overseas. He took a long time before making a decision on his future, informing general manager Bryan Murray in late July that he would be coming back for the 2012-13 season.

Physically, he’s well ahead of the schedule of a year ago, when he was unsure how his body would respond to the pace of an NHL season following back disc surgery. He says his body is ready for training camp — when and if that ever happens.

Mentally, however, he says he doesn’t “have the vibe that I normally do” at this time of year, recognizing it’s unlikely training camps will be opening as scheduled on Sept. 21.

“I can’t say I’m discouraged,” he said. “It was a little bit anticipated. I think everyone hoped we would be a little bit further along, but we won’t see anybody show their best hand until maybe next week or a few weeks from now maybe.

“I don’t think (Sept) 15th is a major deadline. It’s when the lockout would start. It’s the first pressure point and until you get there, I don’t think anybody shows what their real intentions are. I still feel there’s a possibility for a settlement to get done” before the start of the regular season on Oct. 10.

Alfredsson has kept close tabs on the state of negotiations from afar, but he’s not as directly involved as he was during the lockout of 2004-05, when he served on the players’ bargaining committee. Yet even from a distance, he insists the players as a whole are better informed than they were the last time around, largely due to the communication within the union, from executive director Donald Fehr on down.

“The last time around, there was some (bitterness) between Bettman and (former NHLPA boss Bob) Goodenow that didn’t help things,” he said. “With all the changes the union has gone through, we’re in a good position to just make rational decisions and we’re open to suggestions. We’re trying to go in a direction where we can get a deal done, but that’s also fair to us, too.”

Like the rest of his Senators teammates, Alfredsson wants to be back playing hockey as soon as possible. If a deal doesn’t come overnight, though, he’s not going to be bored, looking for things to do with himself.

If the lockout drags on and on and the season is lost completely, he says “I would have to re-evaluate” whether to play in another country.

For this weekend, though, the farthest he’s going for hockey is to Peterborough.

kwarren@ottawacitizen.com
Twitter.com/Citizenkwarren

View a photo gallery of Thursday’s scrimmage here.

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