Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Da lil Guy on 09/27/13 at 05:19 PM ET
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk spoke to the media at the opening of the 'Sens Mile' on Ottawa's Elgin Street today.
There were a few questions about the team on the ice, and how far they might be able to go in the reorganized Atlantic division after losing Daniel Alfredsson and adding Bobby Ryan in the off-season, but there were even more questions about the owner's ability or willingness to pony up the dough to make the team competitive.
The Ottawa Citizen's Senators Extra has the full audio of Melnyk here (autoplay warning)
Among the stranger comments by Mr. Melnyk was when he was asked about the club's internal budget, and said that he'd "just found out yesterday" that they'd already exceeded it. This despite his admission that it was a statistical certainty that a team must be among the top half of the league to have any kind of success in a season (the Sens currently sit 26th in league spending per CapGeek.com a few spots behind the Phoenix Coyotes).
Also of note was the Senators' owner's ongoing feud with the City of Ottawa and it's usually ubiquitous Mayor Jim Watson regarding Melnyk's dashed hopes to open a Casino at the Canadian Tire Centre. Watson's absence from the event was noted by Ottawa media (who really are used to seeing the Mayor everywhere) - but despite the snub, Melnyk appears to be softening his formerly aggressive stance somewhat.
Wayne Scanlan had that story:
Naturally, city reporters wondered if hizzoner was being snubbed, due to the hockey club’s ongoing battle with the city over a potential casino site next to Melnyk’s hockey arena in Kanata. The Senators owner was outraged over the handling of the casino file, claiming a marked card deck in favour of building one near the Rideau Carlton Raceway.
Melnyk has threatened legal action over the issue, and recently made some cutting remarks about Watson on a Toronto radio station.
But on Friday a more conciliatory Melnyk appealed to the city for co-operation to help the Senators “work through” the team’s problem generating the kind of revenues the owner says the team needs to thrive here.
“We’re now regrouping to see what we might be able to still do with the city’s co-operation,” Melnyk said. “At this point, we’re hoping for the best … all our options are open right now.”
Despite keeping his options on the table, though, Melnyk did commit to keeping the team in Ottawa - though he reiterated that he still has no plan 'C' after the Casino bid:
Melnyk reiterated he remains committed to the hockey club, but continued to sound the alarm on the difficulty of making ends meet running an NHL club in what he termed a “price-sensitive market” like Ottawa.
“As far as the organization is concerned, again … the idea of moving the team is just not a reality. That’s not going to happen,” Melnyk said.
Full story here
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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