Sunday, September 21, 2008
Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson was pencilled in as the team's second-line right winger for Saturday's contest against the Rangers. When I saw he wasn't playing, I initially thought the Ottawa Sun had screwed up. Then I heard it was a last-minute decision after Alfredsson mentioned tightness in his hip and groin, and coach Craig Hartsburg decided it wasn't worth the risk.
I've got to agree with Hartsburg there.
It came out today, in a Sens official release, that Alfredsson won't be playing in New York on Monday, either. Or even travelling there. Hopefully it's once again a precautionary decision. Maybe Alfredsson is simply saving his best efforts for the hometown crowd in Gotheburg and then Stockholm.
In the above-linked Sun story, Hartsburg said that Alfredsson was "day-to-day" and would have likely played the game on Saturday if it weren't a lowly exhibition game. Good decision. If that's all there is to the story, great. With injuries, though, coaches rarely give all there is to the story.
Alfie has a history of hip injury problems. According to TSN.ca, the problem first popped up in October 2000 (at least that's as far as their records go), and popped up again in December 2001, March 2003, December 2005, December 2006, and January through February 2008. He also missed time in November 2007 with a groin injury.
I don't want to overstate things. It may simply be that he was sore, and didn't want to risk missing the big Swedish debut. But the fact of the matter is that el capitano is getting older, and his body is getting worse for wear. The spirit is willing--and off-season interviews with Alfredsson attest to that--but the body can only handle so much.