Eugene Melnyk’s comments were rather strong in their opposition of the Olympics. Speaking to HockeyCentral he held no punches when discussing his dislike for the tournament and his reasons for not allowing Ottawa Senators players to attend.
It’s been no secret that Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis fully supports Alex Ovechkin should the NHL decide that they aren’t going, Ovi is going. In a wonderful move from ownership depending on your viewpoint. You could argue that Leonsis has no choice in the matter, which is potentially true. It is just a classy play to give public support to your best player. Take note Ottawa Senators.
Now, Erik Karlsson isn’t in the same position career wise as Alex Ovechkin. Ovi is on borrowed time as an NHL player whereas Karlsson could easily have another ten years in the league. Melynk has to tread carefully, and doesn’t seem to when it comes to star players.
Just take a look at the Colin White situation. As Sens fans it should raise cause for concern. White has the potential to flourish on Ottawa’s top-line and for the sake of a years ELC contract, Melynk and Dorion are playing hard ball.
Back to Karlsson. He should absolutely be granted permission to the Olympics. I don’t care for the ‘he may get injured’ comments. He may well get injured when he goes home to Sweden in the off-season. You cannot run an organisation on what ifs. It frankly, isn’t feasible. More importantly, if Melnyk decides to completely shut down the Olympic dream for some of these players, they won’t be resigning.
Resigning Erik Karlsson is the single most important act that the Ottawa Senators should be chasing. With just two more seasons left to run, preventing an Olympic dream will still be fresh in the mind of the Swede. Bear in mind, he does wear an “A” for his country and will naturally take over the mantle once the Sedins are done.
Don’t Forget The Fans
Even past the players and the organisation. You, as a fan surely want to see the world’s greatest players at the ultimate event. Speaking from my own experience, living in the United Kingdom, the Winter Olympics got me into Hockey.
It brings the best of the best for the most coveted of prizes. When people talk about the greats, they won it all. That’s including an Olympic gold. A Stanley Cup is an incredible achievement but there is a chance every year to capture that prize. The Winter Olympics only come around once every four years, and thus are preventing some older players their last opportunity. Furthermore, younger players their first taste of the highest level of international hockey.
The above tweet sums it up perfectly. It would most certainly be a crying shame for everyone, if the NHL decides against Winter Olympic participation.