DETROIT – At some point, Daniel Alfredsson will have a discussion with his wife to decide his playing future. But for now, the Red Wings’ forward said he’s focused on helping the team reach the playoffs for the 23rd straight season.
“I’ve gone through this the last two years,” Alfredsson said. “I’ve talked to other players before. The consensus I get is play as long as you can, pretty much from everyone. If you feel you still have the energy and desire definitely continue as long as you can. That’s been the common theme.”
In his 18th season, and his first with the Red Wings, Alfredsson has experienced an up-and-down run in Detroit. Despite a sore groin and back spasms that forced him to miss a dozen game, Alfredsson ranks fourth in team scoring with 14 goals and 37 points for a team that is fighting for a playoff spot.
“We’ve had a challenging season as a team, going through a lot of different adversity but I think that’s something that builds character for the team as well,” said Alfredsson, 41. “We’ve all seen how good a lot of the young guys who’ve gotten an opportunity to play and thrived in that situation, and for me personally, it was a big change moving and it took a little bit to get accustomed to everything, for it to feel natural coming to the rink but I feel very welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed my time here. As far as everything around the city I have no questions about my future here. If my body and mind tells me there’s more to give, I would definitely look forward to an opportunity to come back.”
Last July, the Red Wings moved quickly to sign Alfredsson to a one-year contract once the free agency period opened. The deal was worth up to $5.5 million with a $3.5 million base salary.
The Red Wings would like to have Alfredsson back for another year but he’ll take a few weeks following the conclusion of the season to evaluate his options and whether he has the motivation to come back for a 19th season.
“It takes a lot of sacrifice. The toughest part I find is the travel, being away from the family as much as we are,” he said. “I’m very fortunate as well to have a great wife that’s very understanding and supportive. But then I love the game. I love to come to practice, love everything about what we do. I know when I retire I’m going to miss a lot of it. So that’s also a factor.”
HALL OF FAME JERSEY: Tomas Jurco was shocked as anyone when he heard that the Hockey Hall of Fame has one of the Slovakian jerseys he wore in the Sochi Olympics last month.
“I think I read it on Twitter but I didn’t know if it was true or not,” Jurco said Friday. “I guess they just grabbed it, I don’t know. We had two jerseys, I got one of them to keep it and I didn’t know what happened to the second one so I guess they took it.”
The Toronto-based Hall received more than 50 artifacts from a dozen countries that participated in the men’s and women’s ice hockey tournament, including jerseys from Carey Price, Tuukka Rask and Amanda Kessel; Martin St. Louis helmet and Jamie Benn gloves.
Jurco has visited the Hall twice but having an article of his own on display is somewhat surreal.
“It’s great I mean it’s weird,” he said. “It’s just my jersey will be in the Hall of Fame between all those great players so it’s great.”
AFRICA’S BIG FIVE: What does somebody give as a gift to the Perfect Human on the night his jersey is raised to the rafters at Joe Louis Arena?
“Well we talked about you know, what should we give a guy who’s got everything?” Niklas Kronwall said.
Well, Africa’s Big Five – a safari trip to see big game animals like lions, elephants, leopards, cape buffalo and black rhinos – for the Red Wings’ Perfect Five seemed all too fitting.
“I know Hank’s been to a safari before, he went to South Africa and he just loved it, he said it was amazing,” Kronwall said. “So we just kind of started talking around that seeing if there was something we could do about that and of course with the big five it just kind of made sense to us.”
Seven years ago, the players got together to send Steve Yzerman and his family to the 2008 Euro Cup soccer finals in Switzerland and Austria.
WHALERS REUNION: New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer had plenty of good things to say Friday morning about a former player of his from their days together in the Ontario Hockey League.
New Red Wings center David Legwand played two seasons for DeBoer with the Plymouth Whalers in suburban Detroit.
“Leggy was fantastic. We drafted him out of Compuware. He was playing
on our Tier II junior A team at the time,” DeBoer said. “He led the league in scoring and stepped right into the NHL. … Good memories, though. A great kid. I still try and catch up with him whenever we play against them. I saw him in Nashville when we played them earlier in the year. I'm happy for him. It's nice to play at home in front of your friends and family.”
The addition of Legwand at this week’s trade deadline it gives the Red Wings five players born or raised in Michigan on their roster, which is the most in team history.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
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