Sens' Melnyk looking forward to finishing ahead of Wings
The Ottawa Senators, and owner Eugene Melnyk in particular, have faced criticism this summer in the wake of long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson's departure from the club. Alfredsson, who captained the Senators for nearly fifteen seasons, signed with newly minted division rival Detroit as a free-agent on July 5th.
This past weekend Melynk addressed the Senators' "internal salary cap", the acquisition of Bobby Ryan, and Alfredsson's offseason departure in a wide-ranging interview with James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen.
In the interview Melnyk directly and conveniently connected the popular Ryan trade to his club having saved money on Alfredsson. "When I said blank cheque," Melnyk told Gordon, referring to the eleventh hour concessions the club made to Alfredsson before the captain chose to play for Detroit anyway, "that would have meant we would not have gotten the (Bobby Ryan-type player)."
On the subject of Bobby Ryan, Melnyk predicted that the American sniper would find the experience of being a star player in a hockey mad Canadian market overwhelming. "When he comes here to Ottawa and sees what hockey is really about — it’s not Anaheim" Melnyk said, "I think he’s going to just fall off his chair, because he will be supported.”
Melnyk seemed to take exception with Alfredsson's comments on July 5th in which the Swedish winger suggested that he's more likely to hoist a cup playing for Detroit than for the Senators. “I think he’s wrong, I’ll tell you that, that’s where we part ways," Melnyk told the Citizen, "I think we’re a better team... We look forward to Detroit finishing right behind us and (Alfredsson) having a good year.”
Finally Melnyk talked about the clubs "small market" status and his plans to eschew free-agency entirely going forward. At one point the notion of becoming Nashville Predators north is bandied about pejoratively, even though the Senators and Melnyk should be so lucky.
Read the full interview here.