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It was about the money — Alfredsson explains decision to leave Ottawa

Aug 15, 2013, 12:28 PM EDT

Daniel Alfredsson AP

Today in Ottawa, Senators fans finally got to hear from former captain Daniel Alfredsson about why he left for the Detroit Red Wings.

The answer, in one word: money.

For the answer in more words, here’s Alfredsson’s explanation, per the Ottawa Citizen:

“When I did my last contract for four years ending in the (2012-13) season, I was asked to help the team manage the salary cap by adding on a extra year to my contract. I agreed. Each side fully expected I would retire and not play the 2012-13 season.

“However, after the 2012 season, I told the Sens I wanted to play another season. I also asked to look at a possible extension this upcoming season at a fair amount to balance out the two years for both of us. They agreed.

“Sadly, the contract negotiations went nowhere, but I played out the season as I had promised and I believe this past season, in my view, was a very special one.”

He went on: “In late June this year, I decided I had it in me to play one more season. I told management I was willing to return and I reminded them of our agreement from the year before.”

But negotiations once again went nowhere, and shortly thereafter the Detroit Red Wings, and other teams, came calling.

As for Alfredsson’s earlier claim that he left for Detroit because he felt the Wings had a better shot at winning the Stanley Cup?

“I wish I could have taken that comment back,” he said.

Certainly, today’s press conference won’t end the questions for Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who recently claimed that Alfredsson’s demands were simply too much for the club to meet.

Melnyk told the Ottawa Citizen that Alfredsson came to the Senators with both salary demands and desire for Ottawa to add more talent.

“You can’t have it both ways and say, ‘Well I want this for me, but I want you to do this with me and the team.’ It’s ‘which one do you want?’” Melnyk said.

But, as the Citizen’s James Gordon writes, “the perception will likely shift now to one of sympathy for Alfredsson, a player who thought he had an agreement with the team but was left hanging when it came down to putting something on paper.”

  1. sens101 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Ottawa loves you Alfie. You’ll always be my favourite player! Alfie has always done right by the team and deserved better from the Sens. I’m sick of Melnyk’s BS. ALways saying the wrong thing, never learning his lesson. From the forensic investigation to his comments earlier this week, he is just a moron. Not going to be the same going to the games this year without Alfie.

  2. davebabychreturns - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Interesting to hear Alfredsson come right out and say, basically, that he signed a contract containing a season neither party thought he would play in order to artificially manipulate the cap hit.

    Pretty blatant violation of the (previous) CBA, and it would be interesting if Gary Bettman decided to make another example….

    • tmoore4075 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Daly said they won’t be looking into it. Hard to go back and punish a team 4 years later.

      • davebabychreturns - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        2009: numerous cap circumventing contracts are signed or are already on the books including one of the most famous ones to Roberto Luongo

        2013: new CBA is written and implemented including a “Cap Recapture” clause which is punitive to any team which signs or acquires one of those contracts

        Seems pretty easy to me..

      • tmoore4075 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Yeah but Lou is still under contract. The cap recapture punishes teams if players don’t play out the back-diving contracts. Alfie played out his contract. Gonna punish the Sens for Alfie actually playing out his contract?

      • davebabychreturns - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        I do realize this is firmly into “not gonna happen” territory, but what the Sens would be punished for is negotiation for, signing and submitting to the league a contract which they believed would violate the terms of the CBA.

        The fact that it did not end up doing so doesn’t change the fact that they had planned on it and expressly requested the player’s cooperation in that plan.

        Which again, was a violation of the CBA.

        It’s just like tampering, if you only punish teams which successfully acquire a player then the rule wouldn’t carry the same weight.

        But anyway if I was a betting man I would never put money down on the Sens being fined or disciplined for this – it’s just interesting to see folks starting to come out and say “yeah we talked about violating the CBA”..

      • tmoore4075 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        I understand. And it is cap circumvention don’t get me wrong, but so are all the other deals. Luongo and Zetterberg were and you knew that when they were signed, and if they play out those deals Canucks and Wings won’t get punished. Alfie saying that doesn’t make it anymore cap circumvention then the two deals I mentioned. And that’s really my point. If Lou and Zetterberg play till they are 43 and 40 respectively there will be no punishment but somehow the league will punish the Sens for doing nothing more than those two teams.

      • 950003cups - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        I demand an investigation! That’s cap circumvention. Fine the Sens $3,000,000 and a !st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick! Just like they did to the Devils.

      • therealjr - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        While throwing that extra year in there was a bit shady, it’s not on par with the other cap circumvention cases because it was an 35+ contract. The 4.875M cap hit was going to be there in 2013 whether he retired or not.

  3. blackhawks2010 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Bottom line, Sens ownership weren’t serious about Alfie. He did the right thing by moving on.

  4. pone27 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Why would Alfie ask for 2 years when he clearly states he was only going to play for one?

    And 7mil?? You know you can get 2 quality players for that, and at a respectable age.

    Look, I like Alfie, I think he is easily one the best players in his era, but at your age to ask for that much cash, its not happening. Sens offered him 4.5, he took Detroits 5.5. So he took an extra Mil to try to win a cup. Respectable, I guess.

    Sounds to me like Alfie is sour because he could have taken more cash in his previous contract and chose to be more of a team player. Well, I am sure the Sens fans out there appreciated it.

    Thing is, I dislike when players take “pay cuts” for the team, and expect to be mega rewarded when you are not in your prime anymore. It does not make any sense. It is a business, its money.

    Take the high road Alfie. Realize what you did in your previous contract was a very classy move that many hockey fans can respect. But don’t tarnish it by thinking you deserve more cash now because you did a team move. Besides, you are still a very wealthy man.

    • tmoore4075 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Sounds like the Sens are the ones putting out there his contract demands which sounds fishy to me. Like they want to make him look bad for leaving.

    • tmoore4075 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Also Sens were saying how often that they would just give him a blank check? So if they didn’t like his demands (if those were his demands) then why did say he could have a blank check? Maybe the Sens should stick to their investigating of Matt Cooke.

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      You claim it’s a business but then don’t like that Alfredsson wants to maximize his contract?

      • pone27 - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        Exactly. It’s a business, and we all know when it comes to pro sports, its simple:

        Enter the league at a young age, get entry deal

        Get 2nd deal, earn raise

        3rd deal, Highest deal – in prime

        4th deal (should 3rd not be too long) – either maintain value, or contract starts to fall

        5th deal, etc. Lowest deal

        Alfie is 38 and is asking for arguably his more lucrative contract yet. Thats not how it works, sorry. 38 years old is not the time do start doing this stuff. Not saying the Sens dont have a part in it, but when you are that old, you are basically at the hands of the team.

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        He’s allowed to ask for whatever he wants.

        You’re argument is flawed in that it doesn’t account for a moving cap number.

    • biasedhomer - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      For 7 million you could get two dime a dozen 3rd line players.
      Alfie is a difference maker.

  5. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    From all I read it sounds like there was poor communication and assumptions all around.

  6. virusgvr - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I hope when it comes to retire his number and put him in the Sens HOF that there isn’t any bad blood and they drag this out like the Favre number retirement.

  7. thesportsjudge - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    $4.5 mil, if offered, definitely seems fair but, if someone offered more with as good as, or better a (perceived) chance at a cup for an end of the line player, why shouldn’t he have gone for the money -grab?

  8. greenmtnboy31 - Aug 15, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    You know what they say about ASSuming Alfie. First he was leaving because he wanted a legit shot at The Cup with Detroit (certainly not going to happen with Ottawa) and when he realized that didn’t sound so good, he opted for plan B; it was about the money. Greedy is what he is and not too bright by the sounds of it. How many millions did he make in his career and he bolts for Detroit for an extra Mil? It is about The Cup and it’s always been about The Cup or he’s dumber than he looks.

    • kaptaanamerica - Aug 15, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      He didn’t do the Sens a favour. He made endorsement money and had a privileged place in Ottawa and Canada as a team captain of that team.he won’t make endorsement money in Detroit or be held in the same regard.he had the key to the city, so he should feel lucky that the team invested in him and that he was given the opportunity.his agent should have advised him against signing if he thought he might come back.he should have asked himself if he would feel cheated for playing for only a mill.asking for 7 mill to make up for a so called team favor doesn’t sound like much of a favour to me.

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