Speaking for just about every Ottawa Senators fan in the National Capital Region, former Sens captain and franchise legend Daniel Alfredsson made some “off the record” comments last night regarding team owner Eugene Melnyk that has the city in an uproar.
While attending a function to help kick off Ottawa mayor Jim Watson’s re-election campaign, Alfredsson remarked to blogger and former Postmedia columnist Susan Sherring that, “we hope to get a new owner.” The “we” Alfredsson is speaking of presumably means himself and Watson.
“We’ve talked a lot, we’ve talked about the future of the Senators and of its ownership and we agree,” Alfredsson said of his connection with Watson and the state of the Senators franchise.
Sherring shared the report on her blog “On The City, From the Burbs,” and remarked that Alfredsson’s comments were made “off the record.” Because of this, Sens fans are in an outrage that Sherring would betray Alfredsson’s trust. Regardless, the proverbial cat is now out of the bag and there’s no going back on things now.
It’s long been speculated that Alfredsson and Melnyk do not enjoy a good relationship. Alfredsson has now left the organization twice and both times it’s been reported that conflict with Melnyk was the impetus. When the two men failed to negotiate a new contract in the summer of 2013, Alfredsson unexpectedly left town to sign a one year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. He’d return to the franchise in 2015 as a senior advisor, but abruptly resigned from that position last summer, again amidst rumors of conflict between himself and Melnyk.
Regardless of what’s really going on behind the scenes, Alfredsson’s latest comments certainly won’t help mend any fences between two of the most powerful men in Ottawa sports. For what it's worth, Alfredsson is the team's all-time leader in goals, assists and points. His on-ice contributions to the team cannot be overstated.
What’s most interesting perhaps is the fact that Alfredsson has expressed interest in returning to the NHL one day as an owner. How incredible would it be if he were able to buy the team away from Melnyk? Thereby freeing the entire Sens fanbase from tight-fisted owner. Ah… we can only dream.