Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk joined CFRA's Bill Carroll for a radio interview on Friday morning and voiced strong opinions on a number of topics, including the Toronto Maple Leafs' rebuild, his own team's trades, and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
While discussing the challenges of building and maintaining a championship contender in the salary cap era, Melnyk was quick to take a jab at how the Leafs have allocated their salaries.
"They're going to have a tough time winning the Stanley Cup without defense," Melnyk said, "because they're hitting the cap, they can't bring anybody new in so they're stuck, and that's where you have to be extremely careful. ... They collapse their team, say we gotta do a rebuild, but you know, mistakes were made and somebody forgot about defense."
When talking about his own rebuild with the Senators, Melnyk insisted he needed to trade away Ottawa's budding stars to accommodate the younger talents of the future.
"A lot of people were really upset about us trading away the three in the end, (Matt) Duchene and (Mark) Stone and (Ryan) Dzingel, and if you think about it, they're all looking for a seven- or eight-year contract at the age of 27," Melnyk said.
"Five or six years from now, they're all going to be in their almost mid-30s and you're going to have all these kids coming up."
In a later discussion regarding the contentious RendezVous LeBreton proposal to build a new downtown arena west of Parliament Hill, Melnyk openly ridiculed Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson after Carroll noted how critical Watson has been of Melnyk throughout the process.
"He is so lucky that I keep my mouth shut, he should keep his," Melnyk said of Watson. "I have a lot to say but I don't say it, but you know what, I'd be very careful I was him and walking around mouthing off. With him opening up like that, you know all he does is the NHL offices, they look at it and say, 'Hey do we really want to bring more events to this city?'"
Melnyk concluded the radio hit by calling out the Ottawa media, specifically stating that one particular reporter was "bush league" for asking general manager Pierre Dorion to listen to a taped call of an upset Senators fan.
TSN's Ian Mendes immediately took to social media, tweeting, "So, Eugene Melnyk just called me 'bush league' on the air. So there's that." Soon after, Mendes' colleagues began speaking out in his defense.
The Friday radio hit came just one day after Melnyk joined Sportsnet 590 The Fan and stated that the Senators need to identify their "real fans."