Ottawa's Alfredsson ends holdout

Published: Monday, Oct. 13 1997 12:00 a.m. MDT

Luc Robitaille, a player Los Angeles Kings fans thought was gone forever, returned home in a big way. Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson is back with his team after a prolonged absence.

After Robitaille scored the go-ahead goal in the third period to help the Kings win their home opener 7-4 Sunday night, the Senators learned that Alfredsson had ended his holdout by signing a long-term contract.Ottawa general manager Pierre Gauthier confirmed to The Associated Press that Alfredsson is back with the team and expected to be in the lineup Wednesday night when the Senators play host to the New York Rangers.

"It's just that we were far apart on the dollars and we both compromised," Gauthier said. "I'm sure six months ago, neither of us would have done this deal. But now we did."

In Sunday's only other NHL game, Calgary and Detroit played to a 1-1 tie.

Alfredsson, the NHL's top rookie in 1995-96, was reportedly seeking $7.1 million over two years. The Senators were reportedly offering $16.1 million for five years. Terms were not disclosed.

After troubled negotiations, Gauthier had indicated that the Senators would never be able to sign Alfredsson. There were reports that the restricted free agent was hoping to hook up with an International League team.

"It was difficult in the sense that we love Alfie. He's a heart-and-soul player, and he's a very good player. He did everything right the first two years he was in the league," Gauthier said. "It's really tough to play hardball with somebody you have so much respect for, but business is business. And at the end, both parties are happy."

Upon hearing that Alfredsson had come back into the fold, Ottawa goaltender Damian Rhodes said: "That's a good sign, and we can only get better adding Alfie to our lineup."

The Kings, meanwhile, believe they are better with Robitaille back in a Los Angeles jersey three seasons after he was traded away. He is one of the most popular players in franchise history and was a prolific scorer in eight previous seasons with the Kings.

He and Jozef Stumpel, another off-season acquisition, scored 20 seconds apart in the third period to give the Kings their first victory after starting the season with an 0-2-3 road trip.

"My wife was saying,`You're lucky you're here. Just go out and have fun,"' Robitaille said. "That's what I told the guys. If we're having fun, we're going to relax and make the plays."

Four of the Kings' first five games went into overtime.

Flames 4, Red Wings 4

At Detroit, Cory Stillman's first career hat trick helped Calgary stop Detroit's four-game winning streak as the Flames and Red Wings skated to a tie.

Stillman scored his third goal of the night with just 54 seconds left in regulation, forging the tie after the Red Wings took a 4-3 lead with three straight goals earlier in the period.

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