Daniel Alfredsson ready to return for another season

Daniel Alfredsson is returning for another kick at the Stanley Cup.

Daniel Alfredsson ready to return for another season
Ottawa Senators Daniel Alfredsson (11) celebrates an overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens after game four of Stanley Cup playoff hockey action on Tuesday May 7, 2013 in Ottawa. Alfredsson, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.The award is presented to the player "who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

NEW YORK – Daniel Alfredsson is returning for another kick at the Stanley Cup.
Following several weeks of conversations with his family and attempts to gauge whether his 40-year-old body can withstand yet another gruelling year, it appears the Senators captain will opt to come back for a 17th NHL season.
He told Swedish media Friday what many in Ottawa — including Senators general manager Bryan Murray — already suspected: He feels good enough for at least one more campaign.
The Senators captain has been in Sweden with his family for the past week, mulling over the “should I stay or should I go now?” question, while ramping up his off-season training. Before leaving Ottawa, however, he had met with Murray, leaving the GM with the strong impression that he was leaning towards playing again.
“I have a feeling he wants to play,” Murray said earlier this week, before leaving for New York and pre-NHL entry draft meetings with the club’s scouting staff. “He said he felt healthy. He hadn’t worked out much. He wanted to do that starting this week. I think that’s all he was kind of waiting for to feel good about another summer of working hard and getting ready for a hockey season.”
If there were any doubts, they now appear to be gone.
Alfredsson will be back when the Senators attempt to improve upon their surprising 2013 season, when they advanced to the second round of the NHL playoffs despite a steady string of serious injuries to star players.
The Senators will be facing additional pressure as one of the more competitive teams in the Eastern Conference and Murray is also in the hunt to find another front-line forward, either through a trade during draft weekend or when free agency opens July 5.
Murray and Senators coach Paul MacLean will have the luxury of their proven long-time captain in the dressing room yet again.
Considering Alfredsson’s longevity and commitment to the organization, it’s hard to fathom his thoughts during his turbulent Calder Trophy winning rookie season in 1995-96, when the club played out of two arenas, had three head coaches, two general managers, a mere 18 wins and lengthy list of 59 losses.
Alfredsson has told the Citizen that during the worst stretches, when Dave Allison served as coach, he was seriously contemplating returning home to Sweden for good when the season ended.
In the early portions of his NHL career, he was somewhat injury prone, missing long stretches of action. He survived a contract holdout at the start of the 1997-98 season, along with loud and long speculation that he was on the trade block before the Senators made their one and only appearance in the Stanley Cup finals in 2007.
It’s also intriguing that on the eve of that final series against the Anaheim Ducks, Alfredsson certainly had no plans on becoming part of that rare group of NHL players who extends his career into his 40′s.
“I might be one of those guys who might surprise people by just quitting one year,” he told the Citizen in May, 2007, back when he was a relative youngster at 33 years old.
The end appeared near during the 2010-11 season, when he didn’t finish out the year due to never-ending pain. That issue was eventually solved by off-season back disc surgery, but he was full of question marks about his ability to recover when he began the 2011-12 season under new coach Paul MacLean.
Last summer, he also spent several months contemplating whether to return and there was a possibility he might not have played at all if the lockout had wiped out the entire 2013-14 season.
For all that, however, his number 11 will be hanging from the records the day after he announces his retirement – if that day ever comes.
Alfredsson owns his own chapter in the club’s record books, boasting numbers that may never be surpassed.
He has played in 1,178 regular season games. He has scored 426 goals and 682 assists. His playoff resume also includes a franchise record 121 games, a franchise high 51 goals and 49 assists.
The fact he led the Senators in playoff scoring in April and May, registering four goals and six assists in 10 games against Montreal and Pittsburgh, also showed that the 40-year-old could still compete at a high level in the most competitive, pressure-packed environment in hockey.
Alfredsson has also captured a Swedeish Elite League title with Frolunda and has won an Olympic gold medal with Sweden. The opportunity to win a second gold for Sweden, next February in Russia, has also played a role in his decision to return to the Senators.

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