Does Eugene Melnyk’s Whining To The Media Solve Anything At All?


Understandably upset at losing the best player on his multi-million dollar toy, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has been at it again, telling anyone who will listen how wrong the play that led to Erik Karlsson‘s injury was and how Matt Cooke is a goon and shouldn’t be in the league.

Feb 13, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) is helped off the ice after being injured during the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun quoted Melnyk yesterday :

"“I’ve been talking about goons playing in our league for years now and I’m on record when Spezza got hurt and I said that one day it’s going to be somebody else’s superstar and sure enough within 60 days Sidney Crosby got taken out (in the Winter Classic by Washington’s David Steckel).“I’m just hoping that this is something that is looked at for what it is and something positive comes out of what is really a tragedy for us.”"

and then added

"This guy should be kicked … He doesn’t belong in the league. He belongs somewhere where the goons play."

He continued his fruitless media campaign in talking to TSN today.

While Melnyk’s emotions are understandable and he is definitely entitled to his opinion, sometimes a person in his position needs to keep his opinions to himself, or at least behind closed doors.  Not only does it come off as whiny, but he is perhaps forgetting a few things.   The Senators don’t exactly have a halo around their heads when it comes to borderline plays.

  • It was before Melnyk’s time with the Senators, but remember Bryan Berard‘s eye injury at the hands of Marian Hossa?  Yes it was accidental, but that’s not how the Leafs saw it and Sens fans ridiculed them for it, and at Pat Quinn for hanging onto it for so long.
  •  While he was an owner in Ottawa, one of his players, Martin Havlat was suspended for kicking Hal Gill in 2005, which was a much more blatant (and potentially dangerous) case of using your skate for a purpose other than for what it was intended.
  •  Jarkko Ruutu was suspended for biting Buffalo’s Andrew Peters
  • Chris Neil has more than a few tarnishes on his halo with questionable plays that could easily have resulted in suspensions along the lines of what Cooke has done.
  • Milan Michalek was almost suspended last season for kicking Dan Girardi in a goal-mouth scramble in game 6 of last season’s playoff series against the Rangers.
  • That’s not even including the Brian McGrattan  and Francis Lessards of the world whose sole purposes were to fight other people with their fists.

Just google “Ottawa Senators suspensions”  and you will find a decent list of times where Senators’ players were not suspended for questionable acts.

Melnyk cares, and I am sure the fan base and the players in the dressing room appreciate that fact. He has their backs.  But running to the media every time an incident like this happens that affects one of his players, airing his greivances in the media comes off as nothing but whiny.

The incident is tragic for Karlsson and the Senators, and as frustrated as Melnyk is, bitching to the media isn’t going to get anyone on your side.  It just looks like a spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum from anyone on the outside looking in.  When you live in a glass house by employing certain types of players, you can’t throw bricks at other who do the same.

GM Bryan Murray handled the situation perfectly at Thursday’s press conference, and that is where is should have ended.