Ottawa Senators Fans
The Ottawa Senators are languishing at the bottom of the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The hapless Senators have won a total of 26 games which is a league low. On Friday, things went from bad to worse as owner Eugene Melnyk called out everyone within earshot. Now, fans want the embattled owner of the Senators out and they have even resorted to social media using the hashtag “#MelnykOut”.
The firesale before the storm
The Senators have been bad this season. There is no defense for the team’s poor play. But Melnyk’s response to the media, government officials, and fans who have criticized him and the team has made everything worse. His recent outburst on radio station CFRA 580 showed just how clueless the owner is.
Melynk attempted to justify Ottawa’s trade deadline firesale in which they moved Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, and Ryan Dzingel. The trio of fan favorites were moved due to their age and the amount of money they sought in new contracts. Melynk may have been right to move the three players on, but his handling of the media and fans after the trades was poor.
The owner criticized fans for not understanding the business of professional sports. He also insulted them over a crowdfunding campaign to create billboards calling for him to sell the franchise.
More strange moves from the Senators
The Senators are in turmoil. In early March, they fired head coach Guy Boucher, who was in his last contractual season. The move made little sense especially after the club’s general manager spoke about the difficulties of Boucher’s role following the trade deadline.
Boucher’s dismissal came with five weeks left in the regular season. The impatience shown by Melynk is more proof that the owner has lost the plot.
All of the Senators’ strange moves and last place performance has fueled the fire of speculation over the team relocating. In 2018, some NHL fans called for the team to move to Quebec City. There is no doubt a number of cities in the United States would love to have the Senators. Houston, Kansas City, and New Orleans have all been rumored destinations for future NHL relocation.
Melynk could be influenced to relocate the club especially with plans of moving to a downtown arena in Ottawa collapsing in December 2018. Melynk hoped to redevelop Lebreton Flats. However, the deal fell through with Melynk filing a $700 million lawsuit against his former partner Trinity Development Group. The deal is what has caused the strife between Melynk and Ottawa mayor Jim Watson. The former called out the latter on the radio leading to a war of words.
Can Melynk salvage the Senators?
Melynk’s lashing out at the media, fans and the mayor is far different than former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s race-fueled remarks in 2013. Regardless, the owner should know better than to make public comments criticizing the people he needs most.
Ottawa Senators Fans: Will they move on?
The Senators’ marketability is at a low. The good news is they can overcome the issue. A sports team can always bring a fanbase back by doing one thing: Winning. The offseason is approaching and Ottawa has the chance to overhaul the team.
Ottawa is just three seasons removed from playing in the Eastern Conference Finals. It just takes a good offseason to rebuild the squad. Perhaps keeping the owner out of the spotlight for the foreseeable future will be the best thing for the franchise.