Sens’ Melnyk on Alfredsson: ‘I think he’s wrong’

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, left, with former team captain Daniel Alfredsson.

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This turned out to be an enlightening weekend for fans of the Ottawa Senators.

Team owner Eugene Melnyk submitted his case to the court of public opinion regarding Daniel Alfredsson’s departure from the organization via interviews with The Ottawa Citizen and also The Ottawa Sun.

Among the information gleaned:

The Sun reports sources say Alfredsson’s initial ask (before the entry draft) was for a two-year deal worth $6 million per season, which caught the Senators off-guard. Alfredsson eventually signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings worth $5.5 million.

Melnyk tells The Citizen the team wouldn’t have been able to afford a player the calibre of Bobby Ryan and meet the numbers put forward by Alfredsson’s camp. Ryan’s acquisition came hours after the news of Alfredsson’s decision to part ways with the Senators.

Melnyk: “You can’t have it both ways and say, ‘Well I want this for me, but I want you to do this with me and the team.’ It’s ‘which one do you want?’”

Make no mistake though, Melnyk’s continued respect for his former captain shows to this day, noting “he is a great legacy to the organization.”

The owner added this affirmation to his team’s fans regarding Alfredsson’s choice of the Detroit Red Wings though: “If he’s true to his word that he thinks, and I believe he is, that he thinks he can win a Stanley Cup — or somebody convinced him he can win a Stanley Cup — more likely in Detroit than in Ottawa, it’s his decision.

“I think he’s wrong, I’ll tell you that, that’s where we part ways — I disagree — ‘cause I think we’re a better team, but if he believes it and he’s committed to it, then it was his prerogative,” Melnyk continued. “All we could do is wish him all the best. We look forward to Detroit finishing right behind us and him having a good year.”

On the subject of Bobby Ryan and how this will impact the franchise: “Remember, this guy was picked right behind Sidney Crosby as a No. 2 pick, and when he comes here to Ottawa and sees what hockey is really about — it’s not Anaheim — I think he’s going to just fall off his chair, because he will be supported.”

Finally, some interesting tweets from The Citizen’s James Gordon. Some fans have been asking why the team couldn’t have just coughed up the money for both Alfredsson and Ryan. Here’s what Melnyk told Gordon:

Melnyk’s quote continues, “This is an operation. I own seven other companies. I can’t go to the Senators bank and say I have a pharmaceutical company over here that needs $10 million because they want to develop some new drug and take money from X and put it into Y. And the reverse is the same thing. They have to stand on their own.”

One final note of interest, courtesy of the Melnyk interview with The Citizen.

Nearly four years after the Sens filed a grievance against Dany Heatley, the case is drawing toward its conclusion.

Melnyk: “We’re coming very close to resolution. I think we’re at the stage now of resolving matters with him to our satisfaction and his satisfaction and, you know, we’re talking directly with his agent and seeing how we can … and we have tentatively come to an understanding of how to resolve it, so I think we’re going to be fine.”

Also: “We had some legal obligations and it just, we got caught in a situation and I think that’s another lesson that was learned and won’t be repeated.”

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