Forget New York Islanders captain John Tavares. Forget consensus #1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. These days the biggest news story in hockey is the scandal between Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and Sens forward Mike Hoffman uncovered earlier this week by an Ottawa legal reporter.
In a “peace bond” issued by Ontario provincial court by Erik and wife Melinda Karlsson this week, the couple allege that Hoffman’s fiancee Monika Caryk was the perpetrator behind a vicious cyber-bullying attack against the Karlssons. Caryk is alleged to have published thousands of slandering and defamatory statements to Melinda via social media sites like Instagram. In her statement to the court Melinda reveals that Caryk had wished her dead, wish her unborn child dead and wish her husband’s career were prematurely ended.
Yesterday afternoon both Hoffman and Caryk addressed the allegations against them in the Ottawa Citizen and have denied any wrongdoing. All quotes in this article provided by Sens insider Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Citizen.
“It’s been a really hard week, to be honest, Caryk said. “We both feel terrible for them that they have go through something like this and for us because we’re the accused.”
“We feel compassion and awful for what Erik and Melinda have had to deal with,” Hoffman said. “I don’t really think it’s correct to be blamed for something without having proof. In this world, you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Their defense, it seems, is to plead ignorance:
“I got a horrific email from a girl named Taylor Winnik, I believe her husband plays in the NHL, saying that I’m a horrible and disgusting person, accusing me of writing negative stuff about the fact that Erik and Melinda lost their child,” Caryk said.
“That was the first time that I was aware of any of this.”
Caryk maintains that she and Melinda have never spoken about any of the allegations before.
“Melinda has never come to me with any of this. Nothing,” Caryk said.
“We had absolutely no idea,” Caryk said. “I had no idea she went to court. I had no idea I was supposed to be served with something. We don’t live (in Ottawa).
“Nobody called us. We answer every phone call we get. We had no idea. We’ve checked the cameras at our home and no one ever came. I don’t know.”
As for Hoffman, he attempted to address things with his captain but evidently there’s no fixing things at this point.
“I sent a message out to him saying, ‘I’m aware of the situation and I’d like to discuss it and go through it with you,’ ” Hoffman said.
“It wasn’t until four days later that he spoke with me. We ended up doing it after practice, walking out of the rink, and basically what was said was, ‘I’d like to see what your point of the story is,’ and all he had to say was, ‘We know it was Monika,’ and I asked whether it was on Instagram? Twitter? Just show something or prove something.
“They wouldn’t do so at the time. All he said was that they knew it was her and it was the only thing mentioned.”
So… what’s next? A Hoffman trade seems to be a certainty at this point, but what about Karlsson? The pending UFA in 2019 has been the target of trade speculation for months, will this latest development finally force the Sens to make a trade? All in all, an ugly situation in Ottawa has gotten even uglier. Expect the team to make some big moves in the next two to four weeks.