Embattled Senators owner Melnyk calls out media, Ottawa mayor Watson
|Toronto Star 22 Mar 2019 at 13:50|
OTTAWAâEmbattled Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has once again incurred the wrath of some of his teamâs fans after making contentious comments on an Ottawa radio show Friday morning.
Speaking on CFRA 580, Melnyk accused Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson of âmouthing off,â implied that the team is better off without traded fan favourites Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel, and said that fans are âpissed.â
He also tore into the Ottawa media, and recounted an incident where he accused one reporter of âbush leagueâ tactics. Melnyk did not name the media member in question, but TSN 1200 reporter Ian Mendes claimed on Twitter that Melnyk was referring to him.
âFor balanced and thorough coverage of the Senators, you can listen to Ian Mendes on Ottawaâs TSN1200 and read his columns on TSN.ca,â the sports network, which has the Senatorsâ regional TV rights, tweeted in response.
While Melnyk also touched on talking points that should have mollified the Senatorsâ fan base, gushing over Ottawa as a city and criticizing the rebuild of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs â âsomebody forgot about defence,â Melnyk said â the â#MelnykOutâ hashtag was trending on Twitter as of Friday morning.
Melnykâs most direct broadsides were directed at Watson, who has voiced his criticism of the Senators owner for his part in a bungled arena development deal at Lebreton Flats, a couple of blocks away from Parliament Hill.
Ottawa Senators owner Melnyk losing popularity with both fans and politicians
âHe is so lucky that I keep my mouth shut,â Melnyk said on the radio show. âIâd be very careful if I was him walking around mouthing off, because itâs very counterproductive.
âIâm trying to do everything for this city, and with him opening up like that, all he does is the NHL offices look at it and say âHey, do we really want to bring more events to this city?ââ
Melnyk also defended Ottawaâs fire sale at the trade deadline, when top scorers and pending free agents Stone, Duchene and Dzingel were dealt within a matter of days. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion had said after the trades that the team âwent to the wallâ to sign all three players.
âIf you think about it, theyâre all looking for seven- or eight-year contracts at the age of 27, for anywhere from $8 to $10 million a year,â he said. âFive, six years from now, theyâre all going to be in their almost mid-30s, and youâre going to have all these kids coming up.â
Melnykâs interview on CFRA followed an appearance on Torontoâs FAN 590 where he was largely restrained, save for a comment about some of Ottawaâs fan base not being âreal fans,â possibly a veiled jab at the crowd-funded campaign to get â#MelnykOutâ billboards erected in the city.
The comments come as the Senators sit last in the NHL standings after enduring several months of mishaps on and off the ice.
The Senators will try to salvage one win on a three-game Western Canada swing when they conclude the trip in Edmonton against the Oilers on Saturday.