From James Gordon's transcript of Melnyk's April 8th meeting with the Ottawa media regarding his infamous "got rid of the bad guys" quote:
How the question was asked, because I have never, ever, ever, even in the worst possible darkest days, when we had some real issues with certain players that you know about, did I go out and badmouth a player. And I wouldn’t. In this case the question was in the context of management and it was almost in half a joke, like yeah, we got rid of the bad guys. And trust me, when it comes to players, there’s no one who cares about them more than I do. The Fisher trade, I don’t know if Bryan spoke about that to you as an example…we gave up a lot to put Mike into Nashville. We could have gotten a lot more for him shipping him off to at least three other cities that were really after him, but you know what? This is a quality individual who is a leader, who I thought of him as a friend and I said, ‘you know what? Bryan, make the call to Nashville. That’s where (wife Carrie Underwood) lives and see what you can do for this guy.’ So we were picking out what can we do for the players who have served us in a good way, and I would do the same thing for any other players that has been with us. As you know, on an ongoing basis, I have always tried to host them at the farm…we do whatever we can. Go take a look at the dressing room, the things that we’ve given them, the tools that we’ve given them. It’s the same thing with the junior team. So it was definitely, I was not talking about the players. Let’s make that very, very clear. Alright?
Okay, so if you take Mr. Melnyk at his word, it's not the players. He even offers his Facebook status with Mike Fisher as evidence that he cares about his players. (Now whether you choose to ignore the fact that trading Mike to Nashville precluded the Senators from receiving a better return and indicates that Melnyk puts a soon-to-be-former player's welfare -- even though he's a millionaire athlete with a gorgeous trophy wife -- above the best interests of his fans and the organization's rebuilding effort, well that's up to you.)
So then, who else could it be?
If it's not the players, it must be the employees.
In the past, we've heard Bryan Murray throw the previous regime under the bus for leaving the cupboards bare. But Muckler was turfed four years ago and it seems passe. Eli Wilson? Blah. The comments were made before the time the coaching staff had been turfed, so he probably wasn't referring to Clouston, Carvel and co. either.
Former Senators President Roy Mlakar did not have his contract renewed last summer after spending 13 years with the organization. Is he the "bad guy"? Or was his dismissal just part of some management shakeup that followed a disappointing season in which Ottawa failed to reach the postseason for the first time since his arrival in 1996?Only those on the inside know and maybe we'll see the truth come out some day but until that time, we can only wait. And as we've seen a transformation from Muckler to Murray's on-ice product, we are now slowly beginning to see Melnyk's influence on his front office.
New ISS Rankings...
... Are available on TSN to check out for your viewing pleasure. Here's how the top ten shake out:
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
2. Adam Larsson
3. Sean Couturier
4. Gabriel Landeskog
5. Douglas Hamilton
6. Ryan Murphy
7. Ryan Strome
8. Jonathan Huberdeau
9. Mika Zibanejad
10. Joel Armia
A few things stand out from these rankings: the first being that Couturier and Landeskog have swapped spots since last month's rankings; and the second being the stark contrast between Central Scouting's perception of Huberdeau (ranked 3rd in NA) and ISS'. Although with Huberdeau currently tearing up the Q's playoff scoring race, next month's ISS rankings should reflect this improved play. (Especially if a few of the other highly regarded prospects are bumped from the playoff picture.)
with ottawa's history of having trouble attracting free agents, no surprise that melnyk wants a reputation as an owner that treats his players well.
Really shaking my head here. This is why I find it hard to believe they'll win a cup under this regime. Trading a player for less than market value is just not acceptable. Mike and Carrie should know that being a pro athlete, with all its advantages, comes with a few unfortunate 'parts of the business'. They kept Redden out of the same bleeding heart mentality. I'm really pissed off I'm a Senators fan right now.
@Hajda And what about attracting coaches?
@Nichols6thSens @Hajda I don't know what goes through a free agent's mind but I'm confident it isn't "If I sign with x team I will only be traded to a city that my wife likes." You treat your players like gold while they're in your organization but there is nothing indecent about trading them to better your hockey club. I'm even more pissed that a Sens fan would defend this decision. But seriously, isn't that the real problem? Most fans are just as guilty of the quick fix mentality as Melnyk and Murray. "He's really good in the community" has been used so many goddamn times you'd think the Senators were running for city council.
@TrevorKluke @Nichols6thSens I'm not saying the Fisher trade was good or bad. I just think that Melnyk realized he messed up with his "bad guys" comment and wanted to avoid any hint of an "us vs them" mentality with the players. That's a reputation that would hurt Ottawa more than it would in other cities. If you're in a market that is more sensitive to FA decisions, you have to be a first class organization. Take Detroit. The city is a dump but guys want to play there because it's group that's serious about winning and treats its people well.
If you're trading a guy obviously you try to get the best you can for your team but you still have to respect the player and not pull a Tampa a la Dan Boyle. The Fisher trade was tricky for the Sens because not only are you trying to get the best back for the team but you also want to avoid the fan backlash for trading a fan favourite. I think that's where the "we did the best we could for Mike" spin comes from ... just something to soften the blow for the fans . Whether or not it was something management was sincerely considering we'll never know.
That's not to knock the charitable work done by some of these guys, but these days, most of the players have their own charities or golf tournaments to raise funds for some local cause. Not to mention all of the guys contribute to Rogers House, etc.