"All I can say is it's been a great year in terms of the group we've had, the adversity we've faced," Alfredsson said soon after Ottawa was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. "We became a tight group and stuck together throughout. It's been a lot of fun, so I'll definitely take that with me when I think about what to do."
The 40-year-old was noncommittal about his plans in the moments after his 17th NHL season ended. All of those were played with the Senators, the franchise he has served as captain for more than a decade.
Alfredsson, who has four children, has 426 goals and 682 assists in 1,178 regular-season NHL games. He had 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 47 games this regular season and led the team with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games. His plus-5 rating was best among Senators forwards in the postseason.
Ottawa coach Paul MacLean, after complimenting Alfredsson's leadership, said that until he is told otherwise, it is his expectation the Swede will return for the 2013-14 season.
"I'm going to chat with Alfie in the next few days at our convenience," MacLean said. "For the first part we're going to talk about the year and how it went and what my thoughts are and what his thoughts are. I don't expect him to make a decision like that in the next two days. ... Usually those things take time, and he'll let us know in due time."
Alfredsson is the Senators' career leader in virtually every relevant statistical category. His 100th career playoff point was a goal late in Game 4 on Wednesday.
Speculation about his possible impending retirement became a hot topic in Ottawa, and with the Penguins holding at least a three-goal lead for most of the second half of Game 5, Alfredsson's final shifts were scrutinized by some.
Alfredsson said he wasn't emotional or reflective in the third period when it was clear his season was on the verge of ending.
"We're still trying to get a goal -- we were down 4-1 going into the third, and if we get one we make it a little interesting and give ourselves a chance, so that's all you're focusing on," Alfredsson said.
"The last few minutes, not much [emotion] really; if I had decided to retire already I think it would have been different. It's always tough when you lose out; you know you have been going so hard -- especially this season. It's been crazy hectic; there's been no time to reflect on anything really. It always feels empty when the season's over."
For those associated with or closely following the Senators over the past 17 years, it will seem quite empty without No. 11 on the ice when that day comes.
The man himself said he isn't quite sure when that will be.
"We'll have our meetings in the next couple days and then I'll take some time, talk to [general manager Bryan Murray] and see what he thinks, what timeline he needs. And then go from there," Alfredsson said.