When Gary Bettman announced that Ottawa will host the 2012 All-Star Game, he might as well have announced these two unofficial, but sure-to-happen events:
1. Daniel Alfredsson is guaranteed to play at least the next two seasons so he can go out in style being feted by his home town fans in the league's mid-season celebration, before bowing out just before the next CBA meltdown, and....
2. Eugene Melnyk and Cyril Leeder will finally shell out the 7 - 9 million it will cost to finally install an HD centre ice scoreboard to replace the 1987 RCA Home Model that now hangs by rusty steel wires from the rafters. This recent story at Off The Posts at least shows it is on Melnyk's radar, if not at the top of his list. But you can't really expect the Senators to stand pat with that creaky old model during the biggest showcase the team has had outside of the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.
You can also bet on seeing some much needed refurbishing around the 15 year old Kanata rink. Nothing major, but you can see age creeping into the surroundings with some chipped paint here, some missing signage there. The outside of the rink has been looking a little ratty with some missing sponsor signs both on the front of the facade and the empty lawn signage along the Queensway.
It's still a great rink and serves the community well, but like all things, it could use a good touch-up.
As for Alfredsson, it's hard not to see him playing in that 2012 game, even if his play isn't on par with his usual excellence. While the fans get to choose the starting lineup by voting, as far as I know, the Commish can parachute a few players of his own choosing onto the roster to suit whatever marketplace they are playing in. It would be quite an ovation for Alfredsson when he steps on that ice and a great TV moment as well. There is no way Alfredsson doesn't play in the game unless he's in a body cast, and even then, someone will wheel him out to centre ice so the fans can go suitably nuts.
Bet on it.