GM: Respecting Alfredsson's space

DETROIT -- Though the clock may be ticking for veteran Daniel Alfredsson to make a decision about possible retirement, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland will not be rushing him for an answer.

With the type of leadership and professionalism that Alfredsson provided the Red Wings last season, Holland believes he deserves that much.

"I'm giving him his space. I'm trying to show him the respect that I think he's earned throughout his career," Holland told ESPN.com when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.

Whether Alfredsson, who led the team with 49 points last season, will continue his career remains to be seen, with the 41-year-old veteran still trying to assess whether his body can endure the rigors of another NHL season.

Alfredsson wants to play in Detroit. But he has previously stated that he wants to suit up only if he feels he can contribute. Holland understands the difficulty of such a decision and knows that Alfredsson will treat that with the utmost care. That's why he's more than willing to be patient.

"Alfie's not coming back if he can't help. I think Alfie understands we're trying to win games," Holland said. "I respect that he isn't going to put us [in a tough position]. I'm giving him all the time he needs."

Holland has not spoken to Alfredsson or his agent, J.P. Barry, since the day before the 2014-15 regular season began, though the lines of communication remain open.

Multiple sources told ESPN.com that Alfredsson, who previously skated with the Red Wings this summer while trying to get back into peak physical shape, has been working out on his own. If no significant progress is made soon, he may decide to shelve the comeback attempt, though one source said Alfredsson is expected to give it a few more weeks.

Until that happens, however, Holland will wait to hear from him. And there will be no arbitrary deadline from Detroit's end.

Even if Alfredsson were to make a dramatic improvement soon, he wouldn't jump right into signing a contract, anyway. He'd likely resume practicing with the team and see how he feels with continuous daily practice.

The first step would be Alfredsson deciding his body is ready to be put to the next test, and that hasn't happened yet.

"I haven't got that call," Holland said. "I've told him I'm prepared to be patient."