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The Malik Report

Daniel Alfredsson Has A Back Issue

Updated at 6:59 PM: via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Alfredsson “felt a little bit of a tweak,” last week, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press on Wednesday. Alfredsson has held off on re-signing with the Wings pending assessment of back pain that comes and goes. He’d been skating daily with the Wings for about a week until the reoccurrence of pain. A decision was made to stop skating until Alfredsson feels better.

This latest flare-up - coming after a long off-season tending to his back - doesn’t bode well for playing another season. Holland called the pain “nothing major” but Alfredsson, 41, has said he doesn’t want to play unless he feels he can be a contributor. He was tied for the team lead in scoring last season with 49 points in 68 games. The Wings are hoping to have him back, as he provided regular scoring and invaluable leadership.

“It’s possible he comes to camp without a contract,” Holland said. “We’ll see what happens over the next week.”

Update: Here's more from MLive's Ansar Khan...

"He wants to feel great," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told M-Live. "He's waiting for his body to weigh in and tell him what the body thinks. I'll talk with his agent again early next week."

Holland said Alfredsson could attend training camp without a contract.

If Alfredsson feels comfortable with his back, the Red Wings would like to sign him, even if he's able to play only 60-65 games.

"If we have to wait a little bit, we'll wait a little bit," Holland said. "It's minor, but he doesn't want to push it, doesn't want to overplay it. He made the decision he's going to hold back a little bit."

And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

The Wings would like to sign Alfredsson, who has an issue with a nerve in his back, to a one-year deal if he’s healthy, even if it’s just to play between 60-65 games.

Holland said he plans to talk to Alfredsson’s agent again early next week.

“I would love to play, there’s no question, but at the same time you have to listen to your body,” Alfredsson said last week. “I’m hoping that I’ll know within the next week or two weeks.”

Alfredsson could decide to go to camp without a contract in place before deciding on his future.

“If Alfie tells me he feels great and he wants to play hockey then we have to sit down and talk,” Holland said. “If he tells me on the 15th of September, ‘I feel good but you know what I’d like to go to training camp and see a bit more’ then I think we’re going to do it.”

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Comments

Hippy Dave's avatar

As a token of solidarity, I have tweaked my back as well.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 09/10/14 at 06:03 PM ET

awould's avatar

At some point, either Holland or Alfredsson has to blink on this. The dude is done, just quit with the charade and move forward.

Posted by awould on 09/10/14 at 06:22 PM ET

Avatar

How in the hell can you call this a charade. Alfredsson is doing exactly what he and everyone else has said he would do for the past month. He’s trying to determine if his career is over or not. If he’s having back problems over the next couple of weeks, he’ll be the first one to realize that he can’t go on and call it quits..

Posted by Steve in SE MI on 09/10/14 at 07:16 PM ET

awould's avatar

Charade is probably too strong a word.

I just don’t think a player that needs to see how they feel and make a decision at the cusp of the start of a new season has a career left. If you’re questioning whether you can go on, you probably shouldn’t. It’s the same thing with every single player who ever played one season too long, there’s always that off-season of contemplating retirement followed up by a dwindling performance or injury-plagued season. It’s double risky when the decision to come back or not is based on physical ability and triply so when it’s a back problem on a 40 year old dude. Just to say, I’ve never been optimistic he’d make it through to the start of the season and my guess is, this is the end of the line so they should just call it that.

Cleary, FWIW, is taking this cliche to a new level.

Posted by awould on 09/10/14 at 07:25 PM ET

perfection's avatar

yeah, but then again, you never want to regret not playing that one more year. you can’t go back. I think most of these guys would rather have that last ineffective year in order to know FOR SURE it’s time so they can move on with the rest of their lives. Alfie, as much as anyone, has earned that opportunity in my view. Hell, even the way he’s not tying the Wings down is all class. I hope he does play 60 games, but it’s not looking to good at this point. I think they should sign him, put him on immediate LTIR and bring him back midseason once we have the usual rash of injuries. Or keep him on the injured list until right before a final push for the playoffs. I mean, if we are only going to have Alfie for half a season, I’d sure rather it were the second half.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 09/10/14 at 07:49 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

It’s better that he goes to camp on a pro try-out than an actual contract. Whatever base salary the Wings would’ve singed him to would have remained on the cap regardless of whether he played because he’s over 35. In a weird way, this is probably how things should have unfolded.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/10/14 at 07:54 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Poop.  Well, I suppose it’s better if he decides the back can’t go now (or by the end of camp) than having the back go around Thanksgiving or so.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 09/10/14 at 08:20 PM ET

Avatar

Even though I defended Alfredsson’s waiting until the beginning/end of training camp and/or preseason to make a decision, I’m 95% convinced he’s at the end of the line. Last week when he felt the “tweek” they were just skating…and probably not with the intensity they will be as training camp draws nearer. Then what happens when they start hitting each other? If he’s already having problems, no way it’s going to hold up when things get real.

Posted by Steve in SE MI on 09/10/14 at 08:21 PM ET

Avatar

I would like to have Alfy back, but if he is having issues already, I just cannot see him being fully healthy for more than 20-25 games. He might play 50-60, but he will not be fully healthy for those. That’s at least what it seems to be the situation. I would prefer Alfy half healthy vs Cleary, but that choice was already made.

Posted by VPalmer on 09/10/14 at 08:51 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I would like to have Alfy back, but if he is having issues already, I just cannot see him being fully healthy for more than 20-25 games. He might play 50-60, but he will not be fully healthy for those. That’s at least what it seems to be the situation. I would prefer Alfy half healthy vs Cleary, but that choice was already made.

I agree, but if Alfie signs a contract with an “iffy” back then the Red Wings are stuck cap wise. I would love to see him play for another year, but he is doing the right thing for himself and the Red Wings.

Posted by bigfrog on 09/10/14 at 10:00 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The good thing about all of this is that the Red Wings can afford to bring Alfredsson to camp and even have him play in exhibition games if he’s willing to sign a pro try-out.

As long as the team doesn’t have to decide whether to sign Alfredsson to a contract that would be on the cap for the 14-15 season until the time between the preseason ends on September 3rd and the Wings play on October 9th…

Again, in a weird way, this is ideal. If he can still go, if he can handle contact and games, which are really going to be the only true test for his back, super. If he can’t, he can hang ‘em up and that will be that.

If he’s good to go, the Wings can worry about their roster situation at that time. If he’s not, the Wings can worry about their roster situation at that time.October 8th is the real deadline.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/10/14 at 10:16 PM ET

Avatar

I love what Alfredsson brought last year and would love to have him back, but I can’t say I feel very good about the fact that he tweaked his back before even engaging in real training camp activity, much less pre-season games, much less “real” games.

My real hope is that the very possibility of Alfredsson re-signing pushes one of the younger guys, whether it’s Jurco, Mantha or someone else, to take a roster spot and make it impossible for the coaching and management to justify re-signing a tweaked Alfredsson instead of going with a youngster.

And, as much as I love what Alfredsson brought last year, if he can’t put up the points and play regularly then it’s not worth it to bring him back for “leadership”.

Posted by Garth on 09/11/14 at 10:35 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

if he can’t put up the points and play regularly then it’s not worth it to bring him back for “leadership”.

That spot is already taken by Cleary.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 09/11/14 at 06:43 PM ET

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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.

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