KK Members Blog

KK Members Blog

Questioning God (AKA Daniel Alfredsson)

08/13/2013 at 4:52pm EDT

At some point on Thursday, the Ottawa sports media will be stirred from the sleepy doldrums of summer to meet with the man who was, until recently, the longest serving captain in the NHL and the dominant face of the Ottawa Senators franchise. They'll get to question him on why he chose to break the hearts of his faithful and leave for the apparently greener pastures of the Motor City.

The thing is, in the Ottawa media, questioning Daniel Alfredsson is not exactly the natural state of things. Alfie's word has been held to be gospel truth, his actions sacrosanct, his motives pure. Even when he might have seemed to have mispoke, it would be considered the height of blasphemy to do anything less than rush immediately to his defence. A lack of faith in the cult of Alfie was enough to prove one was (at least) out of touch with reality (or worse still, a Leafs fan). Little wonder, to those in Ottawa, that I-Phone's helpful homonculus, Siri, famously confused Alfie with God.

Even as Alfredsson prepares to leave town under a cloud of shifting stories and uncertain circumstances, there remain a great many Senators fans who believe he is incapable of being in the wrong. They rush to blame others (and others probably deserve at least some of the blame) for the loss of the beloved captain. Other fans, though, still see questions that only he can answer. It will fall to a group of journalists who have been conditioned not to question him to do just that. To complicate matters further, some members of this group have at times, rightly or wrongly, faced criticisms of their journalistic abilities (which I think is much nicer than saying they've been accused of being illiterate drunks).

To help them out, I thought it would be prudent to suggest some questions that they might be able to put to Daniel Alfredsson when he decends from the heavens one last time, two days hence. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • At what point did leaving the Senators become a serious possibility?
  • Did you speak to management directly, or was your agent always the intermediary?
  • Did you give the team a number when you first spoke to them after your decision to return for another season in the NHL?
  • What was the number you were looking for?
  • If your priority was to compete for a cup, and you didn't think the Senators could compete, why did you give them a number at all?
  • Did the team make a counter offer, and what was it?
  • Where there further negotiations after the team made its offer?
  • Did you expect there to be a negotiation, or did you expect the team would agree to pay you whatever you asked?
  • Who first raised the issue of the team's overall competitiveness, you or the club/management?
  • Did the team ask you to take a discount to allow them to improve the team?
  • Were other players, potential acquisition targets, mentioned by name?
  • Were you insulted personally by the way negotiations went?
  • Did you feel the team did not value your on-ice contributions enough?
  • Did you break off communications with the team, or was there an open line of communication?
  • Do you feel like you might have overreacted?
  • Did you consider giving the Senators an opportunity to match the Red Wings' offer?
  • Since you signed with the Red Wings, have you had the chance to hear the team/owner's side of the story?
  • Do you agree with their interpretation of how it went down?
  • In hindsight, do you feel like you had the full picture and all the details you would have liked to when you made the decision?
  • Do you feel like this will tarnish your legacy in Ottawa?
  • How do you think this will affect your legacy as an NHL player?

Those are just a few of the questions I'd like to hear Alfredsson answer (or hear him avoid answering, which is probably just as telling). Some I think we know the answer too, but as a fan I need to hear it from him and I don't think I'm alone. If you have any questions, I'd love to hear them in the comments. Alternatively, it's possible that my questions aren't tough enough - and I've also been conditioned to treat Alfie with kid-gloves. Let me know about that, too.

The fact that Alfie agreed to this availability proves that, on some level, he believes his 17 years in Ottawa entitle the fans to some direct answers. However, when he gets up in front of the cameras he may reconsider - and it will be up to those journalists to dig deep into their journalistic abilities and get him to provide. I hope they're up to the task, because I don't think they'll get the luxury of a second coming.

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