The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/23/13 at 01:03 PM ET
Updated with "five reasons why Daniel Alfredsson made the right choice when he left the Senators" at 2:03 PM: I'm trying to keep as much of the hubbub surrounding tonight's "reunion game" between the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings (7:30 PM, FSD/TSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) in the game-day entry and the Ouellet recall entry, and I'd prefer to not post every dang Alfredsson story on its own given that Monday night, Tuesday afternoon and evening and even this morning have been littered with Alfredsson stories.
That being said, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned an Alfredsson story that stands on its own, discussing the Wings' "free agency wining and dining period" wooing of Alfredssson, the Alfredsson family's acclimation to a new hometown in Birmingham and a new experience entirely in living in the U.S. for the first time, and especially Alfredsson's in-progress "fit" with the Wings on the ice--in both present and future tenses:
[N]ow the family is settled, and he has settled down, too, even though he has bounced from line to line as the Wings have tried to find the right combinations. He can skate for a 40-year-old. He still has his hands and hockey sense. He has a goal and eight assists – and four or five of those assists were Grade A playmaking. He had eight points in four games as the Wings went on a four-game winning streak from Oct. 12-17. Though he has no points in his past two games, he had perhaps the Wings’ two best scoring chances Monday night in a 1-0 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks, slipping into position, ready for a pass.
“We saw that with Brett Hull,” Zetterberg said. “He’d always find the right spot, but maybe he didn’t work as hard to get there as other players had to do. Alfie’s the same way. He’s been around for so long, he knows where to be on the ice.”
The question isn’t about the past anymore. It isn’t about the present as much, either. It’s about the future.
How will this season turn out? “He might have asked himself, ‘What the heck have I done?’ I don’t know,” Babcock said. “In the end, depending on how good we become, I think he has a chance to be real happy here. But we’re a long way from being good enough for him to get what he wants.”
Will he return to Detroit next season? “We all hope … My expectation is, this isn’t … If it all goes well, let’s do it all over again,” Holland said.
Continued, and Cotsonika's article's worth your time.
Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James offered USA Today 5 reasons why "Alfredsson made the right choice when he left the Senators":
1. Alfredsson doesn’t play with the spotlight focused on him every single game as he did in Ottawa. At age 40, with a lot of wear and tear on his body, this is an ideal way for him to be a major contributor, but not be scrutinized if he goes a game or two without a point.
2. The Wings acquired a coveted right-handed shooter in Alfredsson, something they lack up front and on the back end. He has been especially key to rejuvenating a power play that had been ineffective two seasons running. He set up three power-play goals in one game alone, Oct. 12 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
3. Alfredsson gets to play with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. When the Red Wings have needed a little extra oomph, a little more offensive dazzle, they’ve put Alfredsson together with Datsyuk and Zetterberg, creating a formidable line. Tough for an opposing player to know which forward to cover the hardest.
4. Alfredsson has been a fabulous moving piece for the Red Wings. He has played with every center from Datsyuk to Stephen Weiss to Johan Franzen, and looked good at every spot. So good that coach Mike Babcock hasn’t hesitated to put Alfredsson with whichever forwards Babcock has deemed in need of a little help.
5. The Wings, possibly the top employer of Swedes outside of Sweden, gained a supremely professional and humble 40-year-old Swede just this side of perfection. That’s a good presence to have in the locker room for a club that benefited for 20 years from employing Nicklas Lidstrom, who was so good at everything that teammates referred to him “the perfect human.” Alfredsson has that same calming presence, where one shift can settle the bench.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.