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Senators owner Eugene Melnyk gives his side of the Daniel Alfredsson story

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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Comments

Primis's avatar

So Melnyk’s previous line about how Alfredsson knew the Sens had a trade for Ryan in the works to improve the team and Alfredsson still “betrayed” them was either a flat-out lie, or Melnyk was flat-out lying about ever actually intending to re-sign Alfredsson.  Because as he stated, he couldn’t afford both (because he’s lost all his money with poor investments).

Melnyk should employ a team to help him keep his stories straight next time.

Posted by Primis on 08/10/13 at 01:15 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I can certainly understand why Alfredsson sounded so pissed off on the conference call now. While he was saying that he’d made a “selfish decision,” it sounded like he was holding back some serious anger. Must’ve been sarcasm.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/10/13 at 01:28 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

The audio, she is here: http://kuklaskorner.com/tmr/comments/red-wings-overnight-report-ergle-blergle-garb

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/10/13 at 01:37 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Melnyk seams like an ungrateful POS. Alfredsson spent his entire career with his Franchise trying to get a Stanley Cup.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 08/10/13 at 01:42 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Heh…uh…where? Too many red links…

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 08/10/13 at 01:44 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Scroll down to the middle. The embedded audio.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/10/13 at 01:57 AM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

Melnyk: the most limp of all limp dicks.  He’s the chief reason - amongst a panoply of other reasons - why the senators struggle to be taken seriously.  Note to Eugene: Alfredsson is the chief reason why your franchise is currently worth anything, not to mention still in business (besides the crutch of Leafs and Habs fans).  He made the team you bought. 

To quote Ad-Rock (R.I.P.): “It’s called gratitude, and that’s right.”

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 08/10/13 at 03:00 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Link to audio: https://soundcloud.com/gemma-karstens-smith/goodbye-alfie

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/10/13 at 04:03 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Well I’m glad I read this, puts a different perspective on the whole progression of events.

“Melnyk said the team wouldn’t have been able to afford a player the calibre of Bobby Ryan ... and meet the numbers put forward by Alfredsson’s camp.”

So it really was “one or the other”, not a matter of being able to add pieces to Alfredsson.  His last year he played for $1M, and contract averaged just $4M or so since the 2005 lockout, hardly numbers worthy of a top line captain and forward.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 08/10/13 at 09:51 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The Senators out-draw the Rangers by 2200 per game. I’m not sure it really makes sense for them to charge less than the Avalanche for tickets.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/10/13 at 10:16 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

Alfie is a fine player and i’d rather have him with us than against us. With that being said, I still cant get overly excited over a 1 year rental. Just as I’m cheering for him, he will be gone. I certainly wish we could have landed Bobby Ryan, the upside being he would certainly have more years of play here.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 08/10/13 at 11:44 AM ET

cementslinger's avatar

Look, we play as a team, and no one single player supersedes the betterment of the whole team.”

and then…

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

Now, I’m not a rocket scientist. Nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express, but is something not quite right here?  Am I misunderstanding something here? Oh look, a bunny

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 08/10/13 at 12:31 PM ET

SYF's avatar

We look forward to Detroit finishing right behind us and him having a good year.

- Eugene Melnyk.

Bitter much, Geno?

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/10/13 at 12:34 PM ET

Avatar

Bitter much, Geno?

The face of his team just left for a division rival because he didn’t think the team he’d spent his whole career with wasn’t good enough.

There are Wings fans who were bitter because Brunner didn’t get on his ands and knees, begging to take whatever Detroit offered him, and others who were ready to tell off Brendan Smith because he dared to file for arbitration.

Of course Melnyk’s bitter, why wouldn’t he be?

Posted by Garth on 08/11/13 at 06:22 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Of course Melnyk’s bitter, why wouldn’t he be?

Because, as Stan Kroenke, Jeremy Jacobs, or Mike Ilitch will attest, it’s better to just be quiet.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/11/13 at 07:15 PM ET

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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.