Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk isn’t happy with his team’s poor performance this season and he plans on doing something about it.
The Senators are longshots to make the playoffs and Melynk is less than impressed. He told reporters at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday that “nobody is safe.”
“Frankly I am disappointed in where we are,” he said. “We shouldn’t be here. We had a lot bigger aspirations, but we are where we are and we’re going to have to make changes for next year.”
Melnyk added that he plans to evaluate every aspect of the organization.
“I’m looking at all of it, right across the board, nobody is safe when you have a year like we just did,” he said. “The status quo would just get us there again next year and this team cannot survive not making the playoffs.
“We have to do it by guts, we have to do it by hard work and we can get there. That’s what we need to do. Nothing more. You can’t just throw money at these things. We all know other teams that would just throw money at things for decades and they’ve gotten nowhere. We need to do it a different way and I think we are.”
Head coach Dave Cameron has guided the team to a 34-31-8 record entering Tuesday’s game against the visiting Washington Capitals. With 76 points, the Senators were seven points out of a playoff spot with nine games to play.
Melnyk has been critical of Cameron in the past. He described the coach’s decision to start Matt O’Connor in goal for the home opener last October as “stupidity.”
It appears Cameron’s role will be analyzed along with every other position.
“I think every single aspect of the team is under the microscope right now,” Melnyk said. “This is hours and hours of work, microscoping every part from players to trainers to coaching to managerial, how we draft, what we draft, where did they end up. With something like this you do need an answer to fix it.
“We are going to fix this. We’ve been here before. We’ve seen the tops, we’ve seen the bottoms and this is not one of those top years.”
Cameron provided his reaction to Melnyk’s comments following the team’s morning skate.
“I’m disappointed too,” said Cameron. “I think everybody associated with this team is disappointed when you’re outside the playoffs, but that’s the owner’s prerogative. He pays the bills. He’s the man who’s putting the money on the line and he has the right to make changes and that’s solely up to him.
“If he’s going to make changes, he’s going to make them.”
The Senators finished seventh in the Eastern Conference last season and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Cameron said that he also expected the team to be in the post-season this year. But he added that he preferred to wait until the end of the campaign to go into greater detail on where things went wrong.
Melnyk said he planned to sit down and talk with general manager Bryan Murray, who continues to fight colon cancer, about his future with the team. Murray is expected to decide whether he will remain as GM or step down and take on an advisory role within the organization.
Melnyk was at the arena Tuesday for a news conference outlining details for the Senators’ 25th anniversary celebration. One of the club’s priorities for next season is to try to secure an outdoor game.
“It’s taking more time than we thought ... it’s very expensive where we want to play it,” Melnyk said. “We’re just trying to get around the logistics to see if it can even be played. I’ve made it very vocal that I’d like to see the game in front of Parliament Hill. If you want to make it a global event that’s where you have it. If you want to make it a local event, have it in another place.
“If we’re going to do it, let’s do something really, really special — like wow special.”Report Typo/Error