Bad Melnyk Press Hurts The Senators: Reader

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Frequent Bulldog contributor Sheridan takes on a number of issues surrounding the Ottawa Senators:

Eugene Melnyk’s says: “Inevitably, more stories will be written by this paper and other media outlets who would simply like to point blame and accuse me of shortchanging the city for not jumping immediately to commit to another venue for an NHL outdoor game. It is unjust, unfair, and misrepresents everything that my ownership and the Senators mean to this city.”

So, as far as I can tell, Melnyk hasn’t said no to the idea of an outdoor game at TD Place.

What I think Melnyk is responding to is pressure that he has “no choice” but to agree to TD Place because other people, like Mayor Jim Watson, have said so. As The Bulldog has noted: where was Watson the times that Melnyk asked him for support of his projects like MLS Soccer, the casino and the LeBreton Flats NHL arena?

Many Ottawa Senators fans have soured on Melnyk as they believe that he interferes with the team too much, and that his hockey decisions are poor, e.g. letting Daniel Alfredsson go to Detroit, keeping Bryan Murray on too long as GM, not spending to the cap each year, etc. Fans are welcome to their opinions.

However, is Melnyk really so bad? As noted, he does face many challenges of a small market Canadian team. There is the stress of the expansion draft next year with Las Vegas coming into the league. And also Melnyk must feel the pressure of building a new arena — the stress of winning the competition must have been enormous, having at the same time to deal with his health issues.

Indeed, there was huge pressure on Melnyk to sell the Sens were he to lose the LeBreton Flats competition. Some were even saying that he should even sell the team regardless, as the other side had deeper pockets (i.e. more chance of them spending to the cap each year). How do you think that made Melnyk feel? n.b. Mayor Jim Watson is on record as being “disappointed” that the two final bids both included a NHL arena.

The low Sens attendance this year is a worry. A serious question is whether the Ottawa fan base can support this team going forward. Is this a financially viable enterprise? Will the move to LeBreton change this team’s fortunes?

I don’t have the answers to those questions, however, I do know that the recent negative portrayal of Melnyk by the media is not helpful, rather it makes a tough situation even worse.

 


 

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