The Ottawa Senators will never get better until their evil owner rides off into the sunset.
Imagine living in a universe where the richest man in town makes a desperate plea for help as he is dying — perhaps in desperate need of a liver transplant. Shortly after he gets said liver transplant, he threatens to move his business someplace else.
No this isn’t an episode of the Simpsons featuring Mr. Burns, this is Ottawa circa 2017.
Just months after appealing to the fan base for help in tracking down a viable donor for a lifesaving liver transplant that he needed, Eugene “Mr. Burns” Melnyk threw down the gauntlet and publicly stated that unless the good people of Ottawa shelled out more money for tickets, he would be taking the Senators someplace else.
This is but one of the most infamous examples of the tone-deaf and idiotic behavior of the most reviled man in Ottawa, or shall I say, connected to Ottawa, as he spends most his days in the tax haven that is the Bahamas…for…..reasons.
The alienation between Melnyk and the Senators’ fanbase has become so extreme that fans are forking out their own money to erect Anti-Eugene billboards rather than using their cash to buy tickets and hoping to force him to sell the team.
In the past 18 months, we have seen Liver Gate, the Karlsson exit, the Alfredsson departure 2.0, and the Matt Duchene trade debacle. This franchise has no dignity left and is as stale as the 12-year-old jersey Melnyk donned in the propaganda video he pumped out last September.
Rolling back to the Karlsson departure over the Summer, you really do see in hindsight how horribly handled this was from the very beginning. Karlsson is your captain and is in his late 20’s, still has great hockey left in him, and WANTS to stay, yet Eugene simply didn’t have the cash to pony up, and now you have Chris Tierney bus ads all over Kanata.
To quote sports announcer Tony Schiavone, “that will put butts in the seats.”
If there was any justice in the hockey world, Uncle Eugene should be forced to go the Draft Lottery Draw in June and accept Colorado’s first pick in the draft. After all, it was Melnyk that instructed GM Pierre Dorion to pursue Duchene and land him no matter what the cost. One could be compelled to put the blame on the Dorion, the coaching staff, or the players for the team’s struggles but it starts at the top and as they say, “shit rolls downhill.”
Until Melnyk runs out of money or becomes tired of the scrutiny and sells the team, there is no chance that the fortunes of the Senators will turn around. The Sens’ future is indeed as bleak and hopeless as an Ottawa winter.