Forget Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball Tour. 'Round these parts, fans in Ottawa were eagerly anticipating the return of Eugene Melnyk to sports talk radio. Considering the unexpected success of the Ottawa Senators, The Euge was conspicuously silenct throughout the first half of the season.
Well, no more.
For the third time in a less than two weeks, The Euge has taken to the airwaves – making an appearance on the Team 1200's Sports Call. Below is a summary of the interesting nuggets of information that he said. As always, my thoughts are in bold.
Q: On Alfie
I’ve gone to him on many occasions. I do talk to him about… if we’re going to do a major change or there’s something going wrong or something, I’ll bring him up to my hotel room and I’ll say, ‘What do we need to get this done?’ He doesn’t mince words when it comes to it.
Wish I could have been a fly on the wall during those one-on-one conversations in which the captain discussed the state of the old scoreboard.
Q: What have been the highlights of his ownership
There have been some highlights in my ownership, everything from going to 2007 when we lost to Anaheim to the parties before that and to the parties that we had in the Finals. And then the World Juniors coming here and how that impacted the city. That’s where the satisfaction really comes from. Do we want to win the Stanley Cup? Absolutely, but more importantly and I really say this sincerely, is to have a competitive team every year; not to disappoint your fans and you always want to be ‘in the hunt’. You always want to have people dream of that. Eventually you have to win or otherwise we’re all going to be really upset about it. In the meantime, we just have to keep doing it right and giving people their money’s worth and have a good time doing it.
As unrealistic as it is to believe that you have to be in the hunt every year, everything that The Euge has been saying over the past few interviews has been pretty temperate in relation to some of his interviews from years past.
Q: What's Ottawa going to do at the trade deadline…
To be serious about it, there’s nothing that we need. There’s nothing right now that we need. I can see if there’s an injury or if you want to hedge your bet against an injury, is maybe a goal scoring forward – just in case something happens along the way because that’s where we would be short.
I just saw Kyle Turris for the first time and he’s freaking out. He can’t believe… he was at Rideau Hall for an event and he comes from Phoenix and he’s just delighted to be here. He can’t believe the excitement in this whole city. You know, we had to give up Rundblad for him but we needed him. We needed a second line center and we didn’t have that. To answer that question in the most serious way, I think we’re covered in goaltending because we also have Lehner sitting in… he may even come up. I was talking to Bryan and (Robin) may even come up for some games towards the end of the season. We’re pretty well covered on defence, including the guys down in Binghamton. And that’s the only place I can see it, if there’s a hedge, if you thought you really needed it. But you don’t want to go crazy. You absolutely have to focus on what the mission was. The mission was a three year mission to build a long term, sustainable winning team. Don’t give up the short-term thrill of going to the second round over ultimately winning the Stanley Cup or going deep into the playoffs year-after-year.
Less Alex Auld in meaningful games down the stretch? Yes, please. On another note, after reading Melnyk's last sentence, hopefully this puts an end to any talk of deadline rentals or trades involving past their prime vets.