It was about the money — Alfredsson explains decision to leave Ottawa

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Today in Ottawa, Senators fans finally got to hear from former captain Daniel Alfredsson about why he left for the Detroit Red Wings.

The answer, in one word: money.

For the answer in more words, here’s Alfredsson’s explanation, per the Ottawa Citizen:

“When I did my last contract for four years ending in the (2012-13) season, I was asked to help the team manage the salary cap by adding on a extra year to my contract. I agreed. Each side fully expected I would retire and not play the 2012-13 season.

“However, after the 2012 season, I told the Sens I wanted to play another season. I also asked to look at a possible extension this upcoming season at a fair amount to balance out the two years for both of us. They agreed.

“Sadly, the contract negotiations went nowhere, but I played out the season as I had promised and I believe this past season, in my view, was a very special one.”

He went on: “In late June this year, I decided I had it in me to play one more season. I told management I was willing to return and I reminded them of our agreement from the year before.”

But negotiations once again went nowhere, and shortly thereafter the Detroit Red Wings, and other teams, came calling.

As for Alfredsson’s earlier claim that he left for Detroit because he felt the Wings had a better shot at winning the Stanley Cup?

“I wish I could have taken that comment back,” he said.

Certainly, today’s press conference won’t end the questions for Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who recently claimed that Alfredsson’s demands were simply too much for the club to meet.

Melnyk told the Ottawa Citizen that Alfredsson came to the Senators with both salary demands and desire for Ottawa to add more talent.

“You can’t have it both ways and say, ‘Well I want this for me, but I want you to do this with me and the team.’ It’s ‘which one do you want?’” Melnyk said.

But, as the Citizen’s James Gordon writes, “the perception will likely shift now to one of sympathy for Alfredsson, a player who thought he had an agreement with the team but was left hanging when it came down to putting something on paper.”