Redden ponders his future
Veteran defenceman becomes unrestricted free agent July 1
When the Ottawa Senators bowed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday night with a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, it signalled the possible end to Redden’s tenure in the nation’s capital. He is an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, with a determination about his future still yet to come.
Only captain Daniel Alfredsson has spent more time in a Senators uniform on the current roster than Redden, an 11-year veteran.
“Looking at July 1 and what’s going to happen is, I guess, on my mind,” Redden said earlier today as the Senators cleared out their lockers for the season. “It’s hard to put things in perspective yet but we’ll make a decision in the near future.”
While the 30-year-old Redden admitted “it’s a good likelihood” that he won’t be back next season, he added “you never know what’s going to happen. We’ll have to make those decisions as we go here.”
If his time in Ottawa is indeed up, Redden said he’ll look back upon his years as a Senator with nothing but fondness.
“A lot of special things happened, and when it gets down to it, I’m going to look back on it and hold my head high and feel good about a lot of things I did here,” he said. “That’s all I can think right now.”
Alfredsson said he’d miss Redden’s presence in the locker room.
“He’s a very good friend of mine and we’ve been through a lot with the organization,” he said. “I obviously think the world of him. He’s a class act.… I don’t think he played to the level he can (this season) and he’s going to be a good player in this league (again), if it’s here or somewhere else. It would be tough to see him leave.”
Meanwhile, veteran forward Cory Stillman – a trade acquisition from the Carolina Hurricanes in February – made it clear he’d like to be back in a Senators uniform next season. He waived a no-trade clause to accept a deal to Ottawa, in part because it’s three hours away from his hometown of Peterborough, Ont.
“I’d like to come back,” said Stillman, who played against the Penguins with a Grade 2 MCL (ligament) sprain in his right knee. “Now it’s up to what the organization wants to do. I’ve made that clear (to them) and then it’s a matter of whether you can work things out.… But hopefully, we can work out a deal that’s fair and I can be a part of this organization.”
He sees a team with the potential to make a longer playoff run in 2009.
“There’s talent here,” said Stillman, a two-time Stanley Cup winner. “I’ve played my whole career proving things and there’s still something to be done with that (here). I didn’t come here to be out in the first round and everyone’s got to take it personal, too. I want to prove something.
"It's always fun to win a Cup but I think it would be a different level if you win one in Canada. And I think as a Canadian kid, that's what you want to do."
Answering Canada’s call for worlds
At least three Senators indicated they’d be interested in playing for Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Hockey Championship, which runs May 2 to 18 in Quebec City and Halifax.
Centre Jason Spezza, who’s nursing a Grade 1 MCL sprain, said he’d quickly say yes to Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman if he gets the call.
“It’s not something you have too much control over but any time you get a chance to represent your country.… If Yzerman calls, I’d love to play there,” he said.
Forward Dany Heatley, who represented Canada at four previous world championships and the 2006 Turin Olympics, said he’d consider wearing the red maple leaf again.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing for Canada and we’ll cross that bridge when I talk to them,” he said.
Quebec native Antoine Vermette is also open to the idea.
“I’m healthy and it’s an opportunity that would be interesting,” he said. “If it happens, it happens.”