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Alfie still undecided on his future

Veteran forward says he hopes to make decision before Wings' training camp

Wednesday, 09.3.2014 / 3:32 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Alfie still undecided on his future

Daniel Alfredsson hopes to make a decision on whether he will play this season or not by the time the Red Wings head to training camp on Sept. 18. (Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – With training camp more than two weeks away, veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson has a big decision to make regarding his playing career.

Recovering from a back injury that limited his effectiveness during the final month of the regular season, and sidelined him for two games of the Red Wings’ playoff series with Boston, Alfredsson is still undecided about his NHL future.

“If I would start this season as I did last year I would have signed already,” the 18-season veteran said Wednesday. “I had some issues with my back throughout the year, but nothing serious until the end when I started getting some tingling in the nerve down the right leg. That’s what worries me more than anything.”

Alfredsson had surgery for a similar back problem three years ago. The surgery relieved the pain, but this time pain hasn’t been an issue, he said.

“It’s the nerve that goes from L5 (disc) and shoots down side of the right leg and calf,” Alfredsson said. “I haven’t experienced a lot of pain with it. It’s been more with numbness and losing strength in the right leg, which is why you need to put the repetition in to make sure you hold up.”

The 41-year-old skated during the summer in Sweden and returned to Detroit last week, where he has been participating in the captain’s skates twice now with teammates and other NHL and AHL players from the Detroit area at Joe Louis Arena.

Other than a slight setback while skating in Sweden, the nerve hasn’t been problematic.

“I just have to make sure that when you do it every day for a couple of weeks … we’ll see how it feels,” Alfredsson said. “We’ll go from there and make sure it holds up and it’s not just feeling good for a little bit and then you’re in and out all year long. That’s not what anybody wants.

“I would love to play, there’s no question, but at the same time you have to listen to your body.”

Last season, Alfredsson led all Red Wings’ forwards in scoring, producing 18 goals and 49 points in 68 games. The former Ottawa Senators’ captain, and five-time Olympian, has compiled 444 goals and 1,157 points in 1,246 NHL games.

“Every day it’s been progressing good,” Alfredsson said. “As we push more and more it’s going to be more telling. I had to back off a couple of times this summer in terms of workouts and whatnot. As of now it feels OK.”

With a logjam of forwards heading to training camp, the one thing the Red Wings can’t afford is for Alfredsson to play a limited role on a team immersed in a youth movement.

“We don’t want a part-time player, we want a full-time player, so guy’s got to be healthy, he’s got to be able to skate,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Alfie led our team in scoring last year … that’s how good a man he is and that’s how talented he is. But if you start the year injured and you’re 25, you got a chance to finish the year healthy. If you start the year injured and you’re Alfie’s age, the chance of you getting ready to go is a lot harder.”

Still, Babcock is encouraged that Alfredsson is skating this week.

“He’s planning on playing hockey,” Babcock said. “Now, when you get out there and get going … no one’s bumping into you yet, until training camp starts. You get whacked a few times and you seize up a couple of times. We’ll see what happens.”

Until then Alfredsson hopes to make a final decision on his career before the team heads to training camp in Traverse City.

“I’m hoping that I’ll know here within the next week or two weeks,” he said. “We’ll see.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80