Under owner Eugene Melnyk, the Ottawa Senators haven’t been the most forthcoming NHL franchise. The organization is notorious for airing its dirty laundry and releasing bad news late at night when most if its fanbase has either shut down for the evening, or at the very least has stopped paying attention to the news cycle. It’s an old school PR and marketing move meant to shield an organization from unwanted scorn. But, when you’re as tone deaf in your delivery as Melnyk… well let’s just say the strategy doesn’t always work out in your favor.
Take the bizarre video released by the team late last night. In a pre-produced five minute long video segment, Sens defenceman Mark Borowiecki sat down with Melnyk to discuss the current state of the team and ownership’s plan for the future.
For reference, here’s the full video… be forewarned though, it’s a complete and total cringe fest of awkward pauses and phone buzzwords:
The Ottawa Senators are proud to share the vision for the future of our team and this organization. We are about to launch an exciting plan to rebuild our team and we are inviting you to be a part of our rise to new heights. OttawaRising
What… what did I just watch?
Considering that Melnyk and Sens general manager Pierre Dorion have refused to comment on the team’s future or use the “R word” (rebuild) for months now, this is certainly a strange development.
Some quick quotes from Melnyk:
“Right now, we’re kind of in the dumpster.”
“I think what our fans are looking forward to and what I’m looking forward to is a season that is fresh and brand new, something that we can look forward to with young players coming in.”
How young? We’re talking complete roster overhaul:
“That’s what our rebuild is going to be. This coming year, we’re going to have 10 out of the 22 players [that] are going to be new – meaning they are either rookies or maybe they played under 10 games last year. And then the following year, it’s going to go up to 15 of the 22 – maybe 16. So that’s a total turnover – which is what exactly should be in a rebuild.”
Then it came… the ominous Erik Karlsson situation:
“The team that we have now, without all the additions, has leadership that believes in the total team. It’s not about individuals anymore. One player, two players or three players aren’t going to do it. You need the leadership and then you build under that. And we’re going to build that with young prospects.”
Melnyk also addresses rumors that he’s looking to sell the team or move them to another location, like Quebec City:
“Let me tell you something, first things first. I’m going to stick around here for a long, long time. I’m not going anywhere. And number two, the franchise isn’t going anywhere. That’s like totally solid. So everyone can get rid of the noise.”
But don’t worry, Sens fans it’s all going to work out. Melnyk is sure of it:
“It’s going to work out. I really think the fans are going to be supportive. We’ve got some great fans and we just have to give them the hope that they know that we know what we’re doing. And that translates into the team knowing what they’re doing and putting some wins together.”
Good grief… this guy is totally tone deaf. He has no clue how he comes off or how poorly he reflects on the organization. We’re sorry, Sens fans it looks like another rough ride for the team again in 2018-19.