From James Gordon’s transcript of Melnyk’s April 8th meeting with the Ottawa media regarding his infamous “got rid of the bad guys” quote:
How the question was asked, because I have never, ever, ever, even in the worst possible darkest days, when we had some real issues with certain players that you know about, did I go out and badmouth a player. And I wouldn’t. In this case the question was in the context of management and it was almost in half a joke, like yeah, we got rid of the bad guys. And trust me, when it comes to players, there’s no one who cares about them more than I do. The Fisher trade, I don’t know if Bryan spoke about that to you as an example…we gave up a lot to put Mike into Nashville. We could have gotten a lot more for him shipping him off to at least three other cities that were really after him, but you know what? This is a quality individual who is a leader, who I thought of him as a friend and I said, ‘you know what? Bryan, make the call to Nashville. That’s where (wife Carrie Underwood) lives and see what you can do for this guy.’ So we were picking out what can we do for the players who have served us in a good way, and I would do the same thing for any other players that has been with us. As you know, on an ongoing basis, I have always tried to host them at the farm…we do whatever we can. Go take a look at the dressing room, the things that we’ve given them, the tools that we’ve given them. It’s the same thing with the junior team. So it was definitely, I was not talking about the players. Let’s make that very, very clear. Alright?
Okay, so if you take Mr. Melnyk at his word, it’s not the players. He even offers his Facebook status with Mike Fisher as evidence that he cares about his players. (Now whether you choose to ignore the fact that trading Mike to Nashville precluded the Senators from receiving a better return and indicates that Melnyk puts a soon-to-be-former player’s welfare — even though he’s a millionaire athlete with a gorgeous trophy wife — above the best interests of his fans and the organization’s rebuilding effort, well that’s up to you.)
So then, who else could it be?
If it’s not the players, it must be the employees.
In the past, we’ve heard Bryan Murray throw the previous regime under the bus for leaving the cupboards bare. But Muckler was turfed four years ago and it seems passe. Eli Wilson? Blah. The comments were made before the time the coaching staff had been turfed, so he probably wasn’t referring to Clouston, Carvel and co. either.
Former Senators President Roy Mlakar did not have his contract renewed last summer after spending 13 years with the organization. Is he the “bad guy”? Or was his dismissal just part of some management shakeup that followed a disappointing season in which Ottawa failed to reach the postseason for the first time since his arrival in 1996?
Only those on the inside know and maybe we’ll see the truth come out some day but until that time, we can only wait. And as we’ve seen a transformation from Muckler to Murray’s on-ice product, we are now slowly beginning to see Melnyk’s influence on his front office.
New ISS Rankings…
… Are available on TSN to check out for your viewing pleasure. Here’s how the top ten shake out:
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
2. Adam Larsson
3. Sean Couturier
4. Gabriel Landeskog
5. Douglas Hamilton
6. Ryan Murphy
7. Ryan Strome
8. Jonathan Huberdeau
9. Mika Zibanejad
10. Joel Armia
A few things stand out from these rankings: the first being that Couturier and Landeskog have swapped spots since last month’s rankings; and the second being the stark contrast between Central Scouting’s perception of Huberdeau (ranked 3rd in NA) and ISS’. Although with Huberdeau currently tearing up the Q’s playoff scoring race, next month’s ISS rankings should reflect this improved play. (Especially if a few of the other highly regarded prospects are bumped from the playoff picture.)