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Daniel Alfredsson's career at an end, report says

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Toronto — Daniel Alfredsson's illustrious career appears to be coming to an end.

Canadian national analysts Darren Dreger and Elliotte Friedman both reported Friday Alfredsson is likely to retire, wants to announce it soon, and could do it as early as Monday when the Senators visit Joe Louis Arena.

It was with Ottawa where Alfredsson starred, the captain of the Senators for 13 of his 17 seasons there.

Alfredsson, who'll turn 42 on Dec. 11, joined the Red Wings last season and was tied for the team lead with 49 points (18 goals).

An unrestricted free agent Alfredsson told the Red Wings he would only play for them — but only if his troublesome back would cooperate.

But a lingering disc injury hasn't gone away sufficiently for Alfredsson to skate for days, or weeks, at a time.

The Red Wings have yet to officially hear from Alfredsson, although the signs have been pointing in the direction of retirement for some time.

Dreger, TSN's hockey analyst, said while the Red Wings "have been informed he is likely done, they have not heard directly from Alfredsson."

The hope for Alfredsson was to play one more season and contend for the Stanley Cup.

He skated the first few days of conditioning skates at Joe Louis Arena but the back problems quickly flared up again and Alfredsson was forced to miss training camp.

Alfredsson returned to the ice on his own several weeks later, but again couldn't string together several days of skating without feeling pain.

Alfredsson played in 68 games with the Red Wings last season. In 1,246 NHL games, Alfredsson had 444 goals and 713 assists (for 1,157 points), while winning one gold medal with Sweden in the Olympics.

Media circus

It's never dull in Toronto, and the latest controversy surrounding the Maple Leafs was their perceived snub of fans after Thursday's victory over Tampa Bay.

Maple Leafs players declined to salute their fans with raised sticks after the victory, igniting a firestorm on websites and sports radio.

This two days after the Maple Leafs were blown out, losing 9-3 on home ice against Nashville.

Are the Maple Leafs are a dangerous and unpredictable team right now?

"The team you play is the most dangerous one each and every night," coach Mike Babcock said. "As for what is swirling around them, it has nothing to do with me.

"I know they're a team right there in the standings with us. There's hardly anything to pick between us and them, so it's going to be an important game for us and them."

Schedule change

The Red Wings were originally scheduled to skate at the Maple Leafs practice facility Thursday afternoon after landing and arriving from Winnipeg.

But Babcock decided to change things a bit, deciding an off-ice workout was more beneficial, and scrapping the ice time.

"We play every second day for forever," said Babcock, noting the Red Wings have had games every other day from Nov. 14 until Dec. 7 (with consecutive games on Dec. 6-7). "You have to decide. We had a good spot, Hockey Canada had a good meeting for us and we had a good workout facility, so it all worked out good."

Ice chips

Babcock said Jimmy Howard will return to start in net, after getting the night off in Thursday's victory over Winnipeg (Petr Mrazek earning the victory in his regular season debut).

… Mrazek stopped 28 Jets shotsand again showed the confidence and coolness in net that gives the Red Wings confidence for the future.

"We trust him," Tomas Tatar said. "He showed us many times he can play in the NHL. He has lots of confidence."