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Alfredsson ponders his future

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, May 24, 2013, 10:30 p.m.
 

Daniel Alfredsson's decision to continue his NHL career into an 18th season — beyond the Ottawa Senators' disappointing loss to the Penguins on Friday night in the Eastern Conference semifinals — won't be his alone.

Hugo, Loui, Fenix and William Erik — his children aged 10 through 2 — will have something to say about it.

His wife, Birgitta, will have an opinion, too.

Then there is Senators general manager Bryan Murray, who will meet with the 40-year-old captain in the next few days.

Coach Paul MacLean, however, was the only member of the Senators organization to weigh in definitively after the 6-2 loss to the Penguins.

Asked about the possible returns of unrestricted free agents Alfredsson and 39-year-old defenseman Sergei Gonchar, MacLean said, “My expectation is they will be back until they tell me they are not going to be.”

For Alfredsson, however, it's not that easy. He said he really doesn't know what he will do.

Even if the decision was only his, he is unsure.

“I really can't say now,” he said after the 1,179th game of his 17-year career. “I love the game, I love to practice, I love to play the games.”

But ...

“I find the travel really tough with four kids at home,” he said. “That's where I struggled personally.”

Alfredsson, who has 426 career goals, missed one goal recently that especially bothered him. His son scored it.

“My son's first career goal, birthdays,” he said. “I missed out on a lot at home.”

“My wife draws a pretty heavy load at home. Without her, I would never have been able to play this long.”

Alfredsson, who retrieved the puck Wednesday at the last game at Scotiabank Place, said there were no special thoughts running through his head at the end of Friday's game at Consol Energy Center.

“If I had decided to retire already, it would have been different,” he said.

Teammate Kyle Turris said it would be difficult for the Senators to carry on without Alfredsson.

“Alfie is the heart and soul of Ottawa, not just our team,” he said. “To possibly be losing him, that's something that will be real tough that we would have to work through.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun makes a second-period save with the Senators' Chris Neil in his face Friday, May 24, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun makes a second-period save with the Senators' Chris Neil in his face Friday, May 24, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby shakes the hand of the Senators' Sergei Gonchar after the Penguins beat the Senators on Friday, May 24, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby shakes the hand of the Senators' Sergei Gonchar after the Penguins beat the Senators on Friday, May 24, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
REUTERS - Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (L) shakes hands with Ottawa Senators' Daniel Alfredsson after the Penguins eliminated the Seantors in their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final hockey series in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>REUTERS</em></div>Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (L) shakes hands with Ottawa Senators' Daniel Alfredsson after the Penguins eliminated the Seantors in their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final hockey series in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES  - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
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