Last Wednesday night the Ottawa Senators came into Joe Louis Arena and throttled the Detroit Red Wings by a final score of 6-1. Right from the opening face-off the Senators dominated; it wasn’t even close.
Jimmy Howard was pulled a little over 14 minutes into the game after allowing three goals on just eight shots. As Howard made his way into the locker room, most of the crowd should have been making their way to the exits. It was that kind of game, and the first period wasn’t even over yet.
It was a sad way for Daniel Alfredsson to meet his former team. Sad probably isn’t the best word, more like demoralizing. Which got me thinking…
Did Daniel Alfredsson make the right decision to leave Ottawa and come to Detroit?
Alfredsson clearly stated he switched teams to pursue a Stanley Cup. At 40 years old, one can’t blame a man for that kind of reasoning. It’s every kid’s dream growing up to win championships and here he is in his 18th NHL season without one. So, by his standards, the only measuring stick he has against his former team, the Ottawa Senators, is which organization gets further in the playoffs.
Therefore, this one game didn’t mean much, but it still hurts.
The only thing we can objectively look at right now to determine Alfredsson’s worth is too bring up a rather simple question: Is he making the Red Wings better? It’s the dreaded statistic of wins above replacement. Luckily for you, this isn’t baseball.
Sabermetrics has no place here – hockey is more about toughness, heart, and passion than accumulating fancy stats. Because of my strong dislike of sabermetrics, we will have to go by personal observation (that is until the playoffs come along and we get our final answer).
Alfredsson has done everything the Red Wings have asked him to do, except score. He has one goal through the first 11 games of the season. Yet, he leads the team in assists with eight. I’d say that’s enough production out of a guy his age.
Sure a few more goals would be nice, but as long as Todd Bertuzzi continues to light the lamp on the power play, Alfredsson’s role as a goal scorer is drastically decreased. His current role as the distributor has got the team to a 6-4-1 record. Not great, but it isn’t bad either considering it’s better than Ottawa’s record of 4-3-2.
Speaking of Ottawa, the Senators quickly filled Alfredsson’s skates with Jason Spezza stepping up (7 goals, 3 assists) and by having Bobby Ryan (6 goals, 3 assists) pick up exactly where he left off with the Anaheim Ducks. One can only wonder if those numbers would have increased or decreased with Alfredsson in their lineup.
My opinion is that if Alfredsson came in with the mindset that he needed to score, like he was instructed to do the majority of the time he was a Senator, then the Senators would have been better off without him. He can’t carry that type of workload during this late stage of his career.
He no longer needs to put up a goal every 3-5 games. The Wings should be content with a goal every 11 games if he continues to put up those assists numbers.
So, did he make the right decision? I have to say the jury is still out. The verdict won’t be in until May or hopefully closer to mid-June.
The Ottawa Senators may have won the first battle. But, Daniel Alfredsson is looking to win the war.
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