Here’s is the transcript of Daniel Alfredsson’s interview with reporters after winning the Mark Messier Leadership Award on Friday:
Q. As the captain, how did you keep your teammates motivated and in line when you were losing guys left and right to injuries throughout the season?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Fortunately, they didn’t all go down at the same time. We got off to a good start, then we lose Jason, which is a big loss for us. We still were able to win games. We knew long-term maybe it’s going to be tougher.
Then a few more weeks, we lose Erik and Milan at the same time. Now we were in tough.
I think the coaching staff did a tremendous job just keeping us focused. We can’t worry about things that we can’t control. It is what it is. We got good hockey players in here.
Fortunately we were able to win some more games. Craig was playing unbelievable. Then he went down with an ankle injury. Fortunately we had great depth in goaltending that allowed us to stay in games.
I think because it was spread out and we were able to win some games in between gave us confidence that, We can do this. It took a lot of hard work. All the guys that came up and played did a good job of following our system and getting adjusted pretty quick.
I’d say goaltending is a huge part of it, but also us believing that we could still do it as a team. We knew everybody had to pull their weight, and they did.
Q. Daniel, curious, your reaction to Paul being named the Coach of the Year.
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Yeah, it’s a great day for our organization. Paul has had a great start to his head coaching career. I think he’s been well-groomed in Detroit, knew what to do when he came in. He was nominated last year, then winning it this year, it’s quite an accomplishment.
His leadership has been something that we definitely needed as an organization. We were kind of going backwards until he came in, steadied the ship, got us going in the right direction.
It’s very well-deserved. I’m really happy for him.
Q. You’re in the process of deciding what you’re going to do for the future. Where are you in your thought process?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: It hasn’t really started yet, to be honest. I just allowed myself to take it easy, spend some time with the family, to relax, get a feeling of how my body feels, how I feel.
Probably the next few weeks here I’ll start thinking more concrete about it. The people around town has been unbelievable. They’ve all been very positive and supportive.
Q. What does it mean to you to get an award named after a guy like Messier, knowing his leadership?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: It’s probably the most – how do I put it – humbling experience I guess. Mark has been one of the guys you look up to. Throughout my career, him, Gretzky, Yzerman. I was fortunate enough to meet Mark in ’94 in Sweden before I came over. They were doing their tour during the lockout. Came out, had dinner with us. I got to meet him. Just a great person.
Not only person. He could play the skill game. He could play the physical game. Offensive, defensive, good on faceoffs. He did it all. The biggest thing with him, he brought the team together, he made the team, you know, perform to his levels. That’s what great players like that do.
It’s a great honor to get this award, for sure.
Q. You said you’re going to go through a few weeks of a process. What kind of process do you think you need to go through?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Talk to my wife, talk to my agent. I’m going to talk to Bryan as well, and Paul, just to get a feel, I guess, for how I feel. I can’t say I have a plan exactly how I’m going to follow that, but I’m going to talk to people and go from there and see where it takes me.