Daniel Alfredsson isn’t very optimistic right now.
The Ottawa Senators captain spoke to media Monday night prior to an NHLPA charity game, and said he doesn’t really see the need to get excited despite the fact the league and the NHLPA have resumed talks.
“I just feel that where we are at this stage that there’s still just a feeling out process,” said Alfredsson. “There hasn’t really been anything going on and until we get something substantial to work on I’m not too optimistic. I’m hoping this is going to happen now, but I’m not putting any hopes into it.”
Alfredsson doesn’t believe there’s any reason for anyone to get excited until both sides start dealing with the core issues.
“I don’t think we’re at that point right now,” admitted Alfredsson. “Until we are, I’m not reading too much into us meeting or having discussions. We all know that that’s the first step to getting something done, but until you get somewhere with those discussions nothing will happen.
“I feel that so far it’s going according to the plan for the NHL and I don’t feel that they’re rushed to do anything.”
Unlike many of his teammates Alfredsson has chosen to remain in Ottawa and admits he’s enjoyed being able to take a more active role in his four young sons daily schedule.
“I’m hoping something gets done, but I’m going about my life right now,” said Alfredsson. “It’s pretty busy with four kids and I’m getting an idea of the heavy load my wife’s been pulling while I’ve been playing all these years so it’s been nice to help out.”
While Alfredsson had wavered as to whether or not he would play in Monday’s game, he said he was ultimately swayed by the prospect of raising money for a deserving charity and the opportunity to have some fun on the ice.
“It’s definitely more fun than going to a practice,” said Alfredsson. “I want to have fun with it and try to put on a good show.”
Money raised from the games will benefit First Assist, a charity that funds programs to benefit First Nations youth in fly-in communities. A second game will be held next Monday in Thunder Bay, Ont., followed by a three-game trip to the Northwest Territories through Yellowknife, Inuvik and Hay River.
Alfredsson hasn’t committed to any of the other games at this point.
While teammate Chris Phillips still sees a long way to go before a resolution can be found, he seemed somewhat more optimistic than Alfredsson.
“The fact that we’re talking and there’s communication and sitting down again hopefully it’s insight that something will happen sooner rather than later,” said Phillips.
“We’re certainly more optimistic than not given what’s happened in the last couple of days.”
Marc Methot, who was traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Nick Foligno, is hopeful these discussions will finally lead to a resolution.
“Any time there’s a little more dialogue going on in these negotiations there’s a lot of reason for optimism,” said Methot. “At the end of the day both sides need to come to something pretty reasonable. Hopefully we can keep this going.”
Methot believes this week’s discussions could be seen as crucial.
“With all these meetings hopefully taking place and continuing to talk it would be nice to get something resolved pretty quickly.”
Methot says he has attempted to remain confident throughout this negotiation process, but admits at times it has felt like an emotional roller coaster.
“Over the past few little negotiations people were kind of going through a few highs and lows so now I know to keep it even until something really concrete comes through.”