The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/26/13 at 04:24 PM ET
I cannot deny that it feels more than a little "weird" to be a Red Wings fan knowing that the great Daniel Alfredsson Returns to Ottawa Game is imminent. With the Canadian media maelstrom already beginning to simmer and boil, the Most Important Game On The NHL Schedule Ever Thus Far Anyway's already casting a long shadow.
Grantland's Sean McIndoe delves into the psychological aspect of the imminent reunion affair by pondering how Senators fans should react to Alfredsson's return to the team from which he divorced himself this past July, and something tells me that "Option 5" will win out:
Option 5: We are not sure how we feel right now (i.e., the Mats Sundin)
The backstory: By 2008, Sundin had spent 13 seasons in Toronto and made a strong case for himself as the best player in franchise history. But the Leafs were drifting badly in the salary-cap era, and when general manager John Ferguson Jr. was fired in February, it was clear that the team planned to hold a fire sale at the trade deadline.
Sundin was the most attractive trade chip the team had, but he (and just about everyone else in the lineup) had received a no-trade clause from Ferguson. Sundin decided not to waive his clause, the rest of the team followed suit, and the Leafs’ opportunity to jump-start their rebuild slipped away.
By the 2008 offseason, it was clear Sundin wasn’t coming back to Toronto (though which side made that decision is still a matter of some debate), and retirement seemed to loom. He eventually sat out the first half of the 2008-09 season before signing with the Vancouver Canucks in December.
The return: Leaf fans were largely split on Sundin. Some viewed him as a hero who’d merely exercised his contractual rights, refusing to quit on a team he was loyal to. Others saw him as a villain who refused to leave his comfort zone to chase a Cup like so many other veteran stars had done, then bolted for more money once free agency hit.
Needless to say, the reaction when he returned to Toronto was mixed, and he was met by a 50/50 split of cheers and boos when he stepped on to the ice. But a first-period scoreboard tribute was met with an emotional ovation that left Sundin fighting tears:
The last laugh: In the short term, it was all Sundin’s — the night of his comeback, he scored the dramatic shootout winner to beat his former team in storybook fashion. But his Vancouver comeback fizzled with lackluster numbers and a second-round exit, and he has since expressed some regret about leaving Toronto.
Chances it happen to Alfredsson: Get your shootout move ready, Daniel, because I think we’ve found our winner.
Here's hoping the Wings simply win against a team that's out-scored Detroit 10-3 over the course of 2 Joe Louis Arena meetings thus far...
And as someone who readily admits that Daniel Alfredsson was his favorite non-Wings skater until he came here, I still feel kind of "weird" about having him here, but it's a good weird. I'm thrilled to see him fitting in so seamlessly and scoring like he's skating--as if he's 35, not 40.
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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.