Cornwall Ontario – Ottawa hockey fans are some of the best in the country, and this country has some of the best hockey fans in the world.
But the Ottawa Senators are a team on the edge. While many point fingers and pay for billboards delivering the blame at owner Eugene Melnyk there are larger issues at play.
Ottawa has always been a small market team with a rink in the boonies. That’s not changing and while there’s buzz, chatter, and serious discussion about a new rink in O town the shovels have not started to dig.
The malaise attributed to ownership goes back to the handling of the Daniel Alfredsson end of career which bit ownership in the bum recently.
The mismanagement of handling their off the rink staffing and antics also have hurt the team. Gone is Bryan Murray who somehow, even with limited budgets and drama managed to field some great winning teams.
Pierre Dorion simply looks more like a guy selling suits than a NHL GM. The Randy Lee mess doesn’t help, and now the leaking of the Erik Karlsson and Hoffman and his girlfriend drama are things that you have to nip in the bud.
The buzz is that Melnyk has had enough and wants to sell, but maximize his return which nobody could blame him for, but clearly this isn’t going to be a winning season. Trading Karlsson will be bad. Keeping him and getting nothing for him as a UFA would be worse. Karlsson simply has not stated enough that he truly wants to stay in Ottawa and for that to happen he’d clearly have to give the team a hometown discount.
As for Mike Hoffman. We now know why there’s been trade talk about him because at his salary and performance there’d normally be no reason to trade him, even from a cap strapped team like Ottawa. Clearly there’s been a metric ton of drama behind the scenes, but also clearly, team management have not resolved it to the point where it’s now openly in the media and will impact any possible resolution in favor of the Sens.
While nobody can blame Melnyk for not wanting to lose money he has two choices. He has to either eat the loss to pump up the tires and make the team saleable or he has to take his loss and simply sell the team for what he can get and move forward. The big question is if there’s any actual ownership option locally in Ottawa?
If the NHL wouldn’t move Arizona would they let Ottawa move? Even to Quebec which is rink ready, but faces its own small market challenges?
Either way this is not looking like a good year to be an Ottawa Senators fan, and that’s tragic. Tragic to the point where the team has to decide whether to give up the #4 overall draft pick this year because next year the team might actually be even worse!
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.