An Open Letter from Eugene

- April 30th, 2012

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk sent the following to the fans today:

On behalf of our players and the entire Senators organization, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your tremendous support this year. Our 20th anniversary season was filled with memorable moments and historic milestones including:
- Captain Daniel Alfredsson scoring his franchise-record 400th goal
- Alternate captain Chris Phillips playing his 1,000th NHL game – all with the Senators
- Erik Karlsson establishing a new Senators record for points by a defenceman
- Hosting the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Hockey Country and having Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek voted by our fans to the starting line-up
- The opening of the Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall
- Installation of the Bell HD Screen, one of the largest in the NHL

Our season began with tempered expectations but under the direction of new head coach Paul MacLean and his staff, our team played an exciting brand of hockey and displayed a never-quit attitude. Their hard work all season resulted in your Senators returning to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 13th time in the last 15 years – the best of any Canadian NHL team.
Our team success also resulted in a number of Senators receiving league-wide recognition. Captain Daniel Alfredsson has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player that best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Erik Karlsson is the first Senator ever nominated for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenceman. In addition, the NHL announced today that our head coach Paul MacLean is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.
As proud as we are about how our team performed this season we are equally excited about our bright future. With our coaching staff, players and prospects, we believe we are on the right track to building a team that can and will compete for the Stanley Cup every year.
Throughout this season and the Stanley Cup playoffs our team was fuelled by your passion and energy. Never in our 20-year history have we been more proud of our team and our fans.
Thank you for believing and for being the greatest fans in the world.
Sincerely,
Eugene

Categories: Hockey

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7 comments

  1. Bobby Goodman says:

    An open letter to Eugene.

    Thanks so very Eugene for buying the Ottawa Senators franchise and keeping them here in Ottawa! We Ottawa Senator fan are extremely grateful! Ottawa was, is and always will be a hot bed for hockey players and rabid hockey fans! Keep paying the bills there big guy. Now, I understand you only have $500 million left but with new and emerging products on the horizon and patents in your possession, I am confident you will again break the 1 billion dollar threshold and maybe then you can spend to the cap. Until then, don’t endorse contracts that reward old Russians with extended contracts worth $5m annually. Don’t endorse moves that pay fragile sieves in net many millions. Don’t endorse moves by your GM to sign and re-sign one-way contracts to undrafted and unproven players. Offer some oversight and limit the hiring of friends and family. Nepostism is not good in the business world. Limit the signing of undrafted NCAA graduates. Don’t scout Paris for hockey players. Don’t allow your GM to make trades that bring in any more soft, slow, offensive defencemen. Indeed, tell him (who ever it may be) that you want big, aggressive, mobile defencemen and perferably Canadians who want to be in the post season and will make the sacrifices necessary to win games that truly matter. Don’t pay out gazillions to a munchkin who had one amazing year but vanished in the post season. And Eugene, do yourself a huge favour, don’t speak without having someone script if for you (it is better to have people think you are an idiot than open your mouth and remove all doubt). For you to suggest that the Sens were going all the way last year was scary stupid and insulting really. When you endorse every move your GM makes you lose credibility. Think before you speak and factor in the long term consequences. When you suggest that a player “will be go down in history as one of the best defencemen of all time”, you look like a complete fool when months later you ask him and his agent “to be reasonable in the contract negotiations”! Eugene, baby, you put a full clip in their gun!!!! Thanks again Eugene. Now, go hire a press secretary and/or public spokesperson, demand an agenda before any interview and get the brain in gear for your lips start flappin’!

  2. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby,
    That was pretty good and you make some valid points. If I’m not mistaken, I believe Chara was nominated for the Norris while he was with the Sens. I also wonder about what he Melnyk stating in the paper about not being able to spend to the cap. I really think he can afford it.

  3. Bobby Goodman says:

    Can you imagine Mikey, Ottawa made it clear they preferred Redden over Chara. Ottawa traded his best friend Hossa away for Heatley. Ottawa should have signed and then traded Chara but like Volchenkov, he walked and the Sens got nothing.

    I am sure Eugene can afford the cap but it’s clear the Sens are in an era of austerity. The fact that Ottawa promoted Clouston was a sign of things to come. He came very cheap and that was the only reason he was promoted, it certainly wasn’t for his successes. The same can be said for the Cameron signing. Smith, Condra, Butler, Klink, Obrien, Dog, Daisey the Air Rifle, Gilroy, Carkner, Android and Bishop are not handicapping the team financially.

    I wonder why Russians more often than not, feel “entitled”. Certainly there are some who are wonderful team mates but how often do we read/hear obout those who are not. Kovalev will down in history as an under acheiver and too arrogant to be humiliated by being sent home in the middle of a road trip by Carbo in Montreal. His numbers are fabulous but he could have done so much more. Here in Ottawa, in spite of collecting 5m/yr he took shifts and entire games off (a terrible decision to sign him, but that was only one of the many moves that made the team old and slow). I think the GMs and owners should shoulder part of the blame; it is unhealthy to make one player bigger than the team but that is exactly what they did in Washington and New Jersey. It is risky business drafting/signing Russian stars; even if all the advanced scouting support they are skilled and have great attitudes, some later morph into the characters you see today. Kostitsin was involved in a incident in Montreal with his brother, Kovalev and reputed hookers and members of the criminal element. His bro was quickly dispatched. Radulov and Kostitsin must have egos on them bigger than the out doors. In the middle of the NHL playoffs they are out drinking until 5 am the night before a late afternoon game the next day. Sounds like what Emery did in the Stanley Cup Final in ’07. The difference I suspect is, Poille will not reward these two for their committment to the organization with multi-year, multi-million dollar contract extensions.

    LA is looking damn strong. I now suspect they will emerge from the West to play Philly from the East.

  4. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    I’ll echo the thanks to Melnyk for saving our franchise. We bitch a lot but very much apprecaite it.

    Onto topic at hand…

    Mr. Melnyk, very much appreciate what you’ve done for our taem but if I could be so arrogant as to give some advice on matters I have little knowledge of…

    -Don’t blindly reward loyalty. Loyalty is great in puppoes but not so much in athletes and management on the downside of thier careers;
    -Never forget you are the owner of a sports franchise. In sports, results prime over all;
    -See the regular season as a warm-up round and not the be all and end all. a player’s true colours emerge in the post-season, not in game 37 against the New York Islanders;
    -Sentimentality is nice, but it has its limits. If the team hasn’t made a clear progression in the standings by the time Murray’s contract is over he should be shown the door. And that would be a top 4 finish in the East and a third round appearance at very least, since…
    -The team apparently has the best prospects in the world. Silfverbeg the best SEL player in history, Zibanjead the next Forsberg, Karlsson the next Lidstrom, Da Costa the next Oates, Stone the next power foward…but here we are an 8th place team;
    -Blocking shots isn’t BAD. It’s GOOD Several of the teams still in the playoffs block shots almost constantly. Our “D” and “F” need to get used to this if they want post-season success;
    -Don’t give the bank to Erika Karlsdottir; one good season doesn’t make you Bobby Orr, 10-20 great seasons puts you into the Orr/Bourque/Harvey stratosphere;
    -Set high standards of behaviour for your team and accountability will follow off and on the ice…ignore this and you have a country club…

    Thank you Eugene for everything, now make sure your GM and your players are held accountable at all times, since I can’t imagine Biovail ever changed CEOs every year right?

  5. Bobby Goodman says:

    Why is it a priority to buy out Butler got Butlered now, but not a word was written about him playing 60 games this year? I have often said I hate decisions that don’t put the team in the best position to win hockey games. Did he playing 60 games good for the hockey club’s success? Bizzarro World huh? Endorse and support any move made, it is the order of the day! If it is a priority to sign Kelly why was trading him away for 2nd rounder fully endorsed? To save 2m annually? Kelly had his best year in his entire career in 2012 so is it reasonable to assume he can be signed for a reasonable price? I am confused (and that’s not fair ’cause it is so easy to do). Gonchar is making 5m for yet another year and Butler 1.2m so I guess those signings were momentary lapses in judgement by the GM, he is much wiser now. But he moved Kelly to save 2 meg? He on one leg is better than Daisey, Dog, Klink, Condra, Obrien and how much do they earn? Why is it a priority to bring back Praise Alfie and who plays with Turris if God is gone? Alfie’s play this post season, contrary to popular belief, was not stellar at all. He got two points and was minus 3 (his line was minus 6, where as the bum Spezza had 5 points, was plus 2 and his line plus 6?!). If God decides to play another year absolutely great but in an era of a so called rebuild, there are other issues that are far more important. How healthy is Carkner and can he play for extended periods of time? The team desperately needs big, mobile, tough, defenceman who can take care of business. We saw what happened when he was incerted in the lineup and, we all witnessed what happens to soft, scared, one dimensional, roving munchkins in tough games that really matter. Does the team need to carry so many players who are border-line NHLers: Dog, O’myGod’Brien, The Missing Klink, Konopka, Daisey the Air Rifle, Condra, Gilroy etc. Are they really building blocks? What will the team do next year about a power play that fizzled for the last 5 weeks? Is it a good strategy to have one player, who led the league in shots, simply blast away? Who will be the right winger on Spezza’s line? If I was Coach, I certainly wouldn’t break up the combination of Smith, Android and Neil. Butler got Butlered will not be here so, who patrols the right side? Silfverberg may be the guy but what is fair to expect from him? Zibby is a centerman and had a very bad year (they both should be in Bingo in my opinion; didn’t we learn from Da Costa, Butler got Butlered and Rund’sbad? Condra, Smith, Android, Kelly and many others honed their skills in the manures; it made them better hockey players). If Hoffman and/or Petersson are promoted it begs the question, why did it take so long? They may not pan out but they should have been given the opportunity. Don’t over pay Karlie. He will never have another year like this one and he will never show up for the tough games. I would move Kuba, he too he is another softie but a very slow one!

  6. Mike8888 says:

    Gonchar looks terrified when ever he tries to retrieve the puck in his own zone. Butler is not scoring so therefore does nothing.(he was a free agent signing so he only cost Melnyk a bit of cash) Kuba had a great season but shouldn’t be resigned to make room for a younger d. Oh no, I find myself agreeing a little to much with Bobby.

  7. ChokerHater says:

    next you’ll hear, and Don and Bruce will back him up, that he lost money or barely broke even this year, and your trusted journalists will back him up, but you won’t see the books and you’ll all think poor Eugene, he saved our franchise
    hahahahahahahaha
    right
    hey Eugene, got any swampland in Florida for sale, I know two salesmen that will represent it for you
    hahahahaha

    Oh and that 20 year history he speaks of, what ever happened to a guaranteed Stanley in 7-9 years

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