The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/10/13 at 12:23 AM ET
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk spoke with the Ottawa Citizen's James Gordon regarding Daniel Alfredsson's departure for Detroit, and the Barbados-based pharmaceutical businessman/business mogul essentially suggests that Alfredsson was too greedy both personally and personnel-wise in his negotiations with a team that literally could not afford to meet the current Red Wings player's demands:
In an exclusive interview with the Citizen, Melnyk said the team wouldn’t have been able to afford a player the calibre of Bobby Ryan — the Anaheim Ducks’ star forward the team dealt for hours after learning Alfredsson would sign elsewhere — and meet the numbers put forward by Alfredsson’s camp.
“You can’t have it both ways and say, ‘Well I want this for me, but I want you to do this with me and the team.’ It’s ‘which one do you want?’” Melnyk says he eventually told general manager Bryan Murray: “We won’t be able to spend that kind of money, so don’t promise that we’re going to bring anybody else in other than filling a hole that was there.”
Asked if he was fine with the way negotiations went, he said: “I’m definitely OK with the way things happened. You can’t turn back the clock. Look, we play as a team, and no one single player supersedes the betterment of the whole team.”
The interview continues, and yields this take on Alfredsson's decision...
“I was never upset — I don’t think that’s a fair way to categorize it. I was — like everyone else, I was surprised, and the bottom line is, he is a great legacy to the organization. We would have liked to have had him finish his career with us, but you know, it’s his life, it’s his decision,” he added. “If he’s true to his word that he thinks, and I believe he is, that he thinks he can win a Stanley Cup — or somebody convinced him he can win a Stanley Cup — more likely in Detroit than in Ottawa, it’s his decision.
“I think he’s wrong, I’ll tell you that, that’s where we part ways — I disagree — ‘cause I think we’re a better team, but if he believes it and he’s committed to it, then it was his prerogative,” Melnyk continued. “All we could do is wish him all the best. We look forward to Detroit finishing right behind us and him having a good year.”
And this about the Senators' status as a "budget" team (my quotation marks):
The Senators are operating under an internal player salary budget of just over $50 million (the NHL salary cap currently sits at $64 million). It has $50.8 million in salary committed already, according to CapGeek.com, with young restricted free agent defenceman Jared Cowen still to sign.
The Senators’ budget is a necessary move, Melnyk insisted, because of the razor-thin profit margins his team operates under. He has been aggressively lobbying Ottawa city council to back his bid to bring a new casino to land around the newly named Canadian Tire Centre, which would add another revenue stream to the hockey and concert dollars that flow in. Melnyk said that between player costs, operating expenditures and capital improvements, revenues haven’t kept pace.
“We’re not the New York Rangers, we’re not the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I’m trying to keep ticket prices reasonable, because there’s a very delicate balance between ticket pricing, attendance and being able to put a competitive team (on the ice),” he said.
How does the interview conclude? With Melnyk telling Gordon that he would very happily open his checkbook to add a player that would propel them over the top of their playoff opponents...If that player was going to be an unrestricted free agent that he wouldn't have to re-sign.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.