The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/15/13 at 12:03 AM ET
Oh boy. Red Wings forward and former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will be speaking from Ottawa's The Royal hospital at 11 AM EDT, and TSN and Sportsnet will be streaming the press conference--presumably to discuss his significant commitment to The Royal's "You Kno Who I Am" campaign--but TSN and Sportsnet have decided to live-stream the broadcast, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch and Don Brennan will "live tweet" it, and Brennan explains why all of frickin' Canada will end up hearing what Alfredsson has to say:
The release from the hospital sent out Wednesday stated that Alfredsson -- who ended his 18-year Senators career when he surprisingly signed a free agent contract with the Detroit Red Wings July 5 -- will "take the opportunity to give his thanks to the community and to bring further attention to mental health, which he has so actively championed."
It also said that a "public statement will be followed by a question and answer session" and that there will be no media scrums permitted. But as it is his first public appearance since making the choice to jump teams, Alfredsson will no doubt be pressed to further explain his decision.
As such, you and I both know that Alfredsson's much more likely to address his level of mental health and the mental health of Senators fans and the organization. Brennan repeats the Alfredsson-to-Detroit narrative (Senators owner Eugene Melnyk's comments and GM Bryan Murray's comments sort of included), and I'm going to give him the stink-eye for the next year-plus for good reason:
[T]he Red Wings won one less game than the Senators last season, although both teams finished with 56 points and in seventh place in their respective conferences.
Detroit did come within a game of knocking off the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs. The Red Wings have since moved to the East, where their travel and passageway to the final appear easier, but there are those that will argue the Senators are just as good and just as likely to take the next sip from Lord Stanley's coveted mug.
Red Wings ownership is willing to spend to the $64-million cap, while the Senators are working to an internal budget of $50 million, but was that enough for Alfredsson to uproot his wife and four sons, from their lavish Kanata home and their many friends, and move them to a crime-riddled city that has recently declared bankruptcy? Or is there something to theories that suggest Alfredsson was unhappy with the way the Senators handled his contract negotiations, or that there is a rift between him and Ottawa team owner Eugene Melnyk?
Un-be-*#$%@&-lievable. Nobody who plays for the Red Wings lives in the city of Detroit. OVER FOUR MILLION PEOPLE live in the Metropolitan Detroit area (if you draw the map to include Washtenaw, Monroe, Livingston, St. Clair and Genesee counties, it's FIVE POINT FIVE million of the state's 9-and-a-half million residents!) and only 750,000 of them actually live IN the city.
The Red Wings' players do not live huddled together in a compound in downtown Bagdhad, fearing the next bomb lobbed over a fifteen-foot-high fence: they live in the best, brightest and most beautifully expensive of the both bustling and struggling suburbs that spread out over nearly 4,000 square miles of area (6,000 if you inlude the aforementioned counties), and the players have to do little more than commute to the rink from Birmingham, Ferndale, Troy, Northville, Novi, West Bloomfield or Bloomfield Hills if driving down I-96, M-10 or I-75 is all the interaction they want to have with the City of Detroit itself until they arrive at the Joe.
In any case, we should not expect Alfredsson to lobby pot-shots at his former employers, though Brennan and the Senators' media corps would sure like to hear Alfredsson toss barbs at Murray and Melnyk instead of himself:
The classy Alfredsson is unlikely to throw trash at the organization that gave him a chance and has paid him approximately $70 million over his career. More probable is that he'll reinforce his original explanation for leaving. But there are still questions that need to be answered, and Alfredsson has proven to be just as honest as he is talented over the past two decades.
It will be interesting to see if he remains a straight shooter in his final farewell to Ottawa.
The Ottawa Citizen's Allen Panzeri put things a little differently:
Daniel Alfredsson will say his goodbye to Ottawa on Thursday with an 11 a.m. press conference at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, where he has played a big part in helping call attention to mental illness.
Fans will be hoping he gives a more thorough reason for his decision to leave Ottawa after 17 seasons and sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. He is scheduled to make a public statement, followed by a question-and-answer session.
The main reason Alfredsson, 40, offered during a July 5 conference call arranged by the Red Wings is that he wants to win a Stanley Cup before he retires and thought he’d have a better chance of doing it in Detroit.
“With Ottawa, I think they’re getting closer and closer or definitely going in the right direction and has a really bright future in front of them,” he said. “But at this stage of my career … I don’t have the time to wait for that.”
He said his departure wasn’t about money, though he suggested pretty clearly it was by implying the Red Wings are committed to winning while the Senators are happy simply to be competitive.
Alfredsson is also said to be miffed that the Senators tried to lowball him with their first offer, reported to be in the $4-4.5 million range. By the time Melnyk gave Murray the blank cheque to sign Alfredsson, it was too late. Alfredsson had already decided to go to Detroit.
He will move his entire family there next week and join fellow Swedes Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson, Niklas Kronwall, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Jonas Gustavsson, and Jonathan Ericsson as a Red Wing.
Again, I feel awful for Senators fans, but I'll be the first to welcome Alfredsson to Novi...
And as far as I'm concerned, this part of his press conference, per the CBC, is WAY more important, but I happen to battle depression and an anxiety disorder:
The Royal Mental Health Centre said Wednesday the former Ottawa Senators captain will hold a news conference on Thursday at 11 a.m. at their Carling Avenue location.
The news release said Alfredsson “will take this opportunity to give his thanks to the community and to bring further attention to mental health, which he has so actively championed.”
Alfredsson specifically mentioned The Royal and the Boys and Girls Club as charities he wants to keep supporting during his introductory news conference with the Red Wings.
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