Most Sens fans are continually following along with Alfie's Retirement Watch - 2012. Will he stay for one last hurrah, or will he retire without a major injury (or a cup win for that matter). What could be taking him so long to decide?
At around the time of the All-Star game, when asked about his possible retirement, Alfie gave the response "It's 50% up to me, 50% up to my wife, Bibi". We were all comforted by the fact that this was, in all likelihood, a joke answer. He couldn't possibly hang up the skates when the Sens have successfully completed a one-year rebuild, especially with Ottawa under the spotlight of the league during the All-Star festivities.
But last I checked, it's late June, and Alfie still hasn't made a decision. I'm sincerely having trouble coming to terms with the fact that Alfie might actually go ahead and retire. I'm dreading the moment that I hear on TSN that the Sens have scheduled a press conference. We're talking about the guy who took a pay cut when the team was going through financial woes, and as a Sens fan of 26 years old, Alfie is the only captain I really know.
Alright, so say Alfie does retire. What affect can we expect it to have on our team?
Locker room: On the negative side of things, Gonchar and Phillips would become our veteran guys. With a young influx of Swedish players, a lazy Russian and a drunk Canadian might not be our best options as leaders. On the positive, our younger guys get an opportunity to regain some self-esteem. Not because their playing time will increase, but because they no longer have to be intimidated by Alfie's elephantine penis in the shower.
Obviously this puts an enormous gap in the leadership of the team. Spezza might be able to step up, but he likely doesn't have the when-I-am-pissed-you-can-hear-a-pin-drop factor like Alfie has. #11 can reportedly give some pretty inspiring speeches, and we would certainly miss this going forward.
Holes at wing: We'd all like to imagine the following top six forwards playing for the Sens:
Ryan/Nash - Spezza - Silfverberg
Milo - Turris - Alfredsson
But who is ready to step in if Alfie retires? Foligno? Butler? And for that matter, does this pending announcement only increase the need to sign or trade for a top winger like Ryan or Nash?
Chris Neil might be able to play wing on one of our top lines, but he is hardly a big point producer, and I couldn't imagine him playing with a playmaker like Turris. However, he would probably be the most likely candidate to play in Alfie's absence. Either that or we get Karlsson to play two positions at the same time.
Ticket Sales: We're all so crazy for hockey in this city that I can't really imagine we'd have a dramatic drop in ticket sales as a direct result of Alfie's retirement. Fans are excited to watch this young team next year. But I'm springing for a few extra games if it means witnessing moments from what would unquestionably be Alfie's final season.
So, as you can see, the effects of Alfie leaving are entirely negative. We lose the greatest leader and point-producer in the history of the franchise, and it creates a gaping hole on the wing. We can only hope that Alfie laces 'em up one more time, and distracts us all once again from our despondent lives.
C'mon Alfie, the kids like the hot tub!