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Red Wings still willing to wait on Alfredsson, but signs point to retirement

Bob Grabowski / Reuters

The Detroit Red Wings would welcome veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson back into the fold if his injured back heals to the point where he can return, but as more time passes, it becomes increasingly likely that Alfredsson will hang up his skates and call it a career.

"He was feeling pretty good but was getting frustrated because he wasn't getting over the hump," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told Helene St. James from the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday. "He would feel good, push it and have a setback. He was frustrated because he was not able to get to the point where he wants to be at to tell me he wants to practice with us.

"I told him to take a period of time, let his body tell him whether he can play or not," Holland said. "I know he doesn't come to the rink. I talked to him a week ago; he wanted to know if we needed him to make a decision. I told him I can wait a little longer."

The long-time captain of the Ottawa Senators has amassed 1157 career points in 1246 career NHL games and will turn 42 in December. He proved last season, and during the Olympics, that he can still be a productive force for a team - particularly on the power play.

Any potential return depends in part on his health, and in part on whether he believes he can still be effective at the NHL level. For Alfredsson, the desire is clearly still there, but at some point the body might not be, even for the most dependable old hockey warhorse.

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