Melnyk Speaks – A Forensic Case Against Cooke

With the Senators continuing to pile up points, it was inevitable that the Euge would be making another Fan 590 radio appearance. So grab your Kool-Aid, and grab your Barbados rum, and mix yourself a Huge Euge so you can fully enjoy the crazy shit that went down when he joined Bob McCown and John Shannon today on Prime Time Sports.

Below is a transcription of what was said, but if you want to listen to the interview itself, you can: watch it above; listen to the whole thing on the Fan 590 website; or you can stream it at the bottom of this post.

As always, my comments will be in bold.

On David Dziurzynski taking on Frazer McLaren and his thoughts went he nobly tried to fight him and what was going through the owner’s mind…

“That was that fight… I was actually at the game. That was in Toronto, right? Yeah, that was madness. I mean, you just… that poor guy. Our guy got classically rolled. It was pretty rough on him but I don’t know, these guys sometimes do things in the heat of the moment and all of a sudden realize that they’re in a bad situation.”

David also classically demoted yesterday to make room for Mike Hoffman.

On believing fisticuffs have a place in the game…

“You know, I think it’s necessary in some cases. Not when it starts getting really dirty or people are trying to maim somebody; that’s where I start going absolutely ballistic. The attempt to injure kind of thing, but if it’s a good fight, yeah (I like it).”

Love these frank and bland Melnyk answers at the beginning of interviews, bides me enough time to make some popcorn with my Whirley Pop.

On Frasor McLaren being a lot bigger and tougher than Dziurzynski…

“Yeah, but you have got to see the guy (Matt Kassian) that we just uh… I mean, if this is the way that people want to play…”

Uh oh, back the truck up Euge! It sounds like you’re heading down a one-way road that conflicts directly with your previous thoughts on the place of goons in hockey.

On acquiring Matt Kassian…

“Yeah, Matt the Assassin. I mean this guy…You know, I’ve seen people go into the corner, they see him coming and they leave the puck behind and go away.”

Yeah, this never happens during a game. Sadly, I’m pretty sure Melnyk is describing Kassian and his teammates’ behavior during the Senators' pre-game warmups.

On that being the goal of acquiring Kassian…

“Well, you know what? You don’t want to get beaten up and if you don’t have our strength… the guys like Neil and um… mainly, Neil… he’s now more of a skill player but he’s a tough guy. We’ve got tough guys but nothing that is anywhere close to Matt (Kassian). But he can also… you know, he scored a goal which is hilarious. It took him four or five games before he had his first fight, so he’s not out there just to fight. He’s out there to play, but you don’t fool around with this guy. He’s one of the top five heavyweights, I think, in the whole league.”

Considering the state of Ottawa's roster, Chris Neil just might be a "skill player" right now.

On there being too many goons in the league and whether there are more than one per team…

“Man, there’s more than that. There’s more than that. These guys have no place in the game. The goons have no place in the game. The tough guys do.”

If that's the case, then why it's so hilarious that Kassian actually scored a goal? 

I wish John Shannon or Bob McCown could have asked Melnyk to discern why Matt Kassian, a player who has totaled 34 games, 3 goals and 74 PIMS in his NHL career, doesn’t qualify as a goon.

On John Shannon’s thought that if a certain player played less than a certain amount of minutes and got in a fight, he’d be suspended for the next game…

Note: Shannon said he believed that the threshold suggested was seven minutes. Out of Kassian’s 34 games, he has played more than seven minutes in a game ten times. Of those ten games, he has played eight or more minutes three times. This ‘goon’ has a place on Melnyk’s team though.

“I love that. You know, I was kind of half-joking. In Africa, they’ve got the African equivalent of the UFC. The AFC was formed out there. That used to be cage fighting to the death, literally. I know a guy that went into it and he… no, the Finals is to the death. They bring guys down… 300 pounds…they really don’t have much of a brain. You know, you put a pair of skates on the guy, show him how to count to 99 and just point him in the right direction and have him skate over and take a guy out. It could go completely out of (hand)… I mean, I’m half-kidding, but you could literally go out and find a guy whose sole purpose in life is to go out and maim somebody; especially when it comes to the playoffs. It happened to us last year with Alfie and here Karlsson, the number one guy, he gets taken out that way. That shouldn’t be happening. And by the way, I’ve said this on your show before, those guys should be banned from the league. And I still go back to my ABC concept and that is: if you take out one of my ‘A’ players, I don’t care if the goon is taken off the ice. That’s the stupidest thing. Let me pick off one of your ‘A’ guys and put Sidney Crosby on the bench. There’s no point in penalizing when these (guys) pick off your elite players.”

Melnyk knew a guy who went into African cage fighting to the death? As I joked on Twitter, does the use of the past-tense mean he’s dead? Unlikely, Melnyk probably just came home from a game and fell asleep while watching Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Damage on television.

Melnyk’s ABC plan has some merit. Let’s keep Sidney Crosby and the rest of the league’s superstars off the ice by choice so we can watch the NHL’s middle and lower class of players perform. Moreover, what happens if a goon on the Blue Jackets does something stupid? Do we bench their top six?

On taking out fighting completely…

“Nah, you can’t do that. These guys have got too much testosterone in them.”

This probably ranks in my top five Melnyk quotes ever.

On the suggestion that Matt Cooke’s actions were intentional…

“You know what? I’m going to prove whether it was intentional or not.”

Popcorn’s ready, just in time. 

On how he’s going to do that…

“You watch. It may be public. It may not be public, but it’s between me and the league. I think it was intentional, but you have to be able to prove it. From all the television angles that we saw, you can’t see it. It was so fast. But the force that that skate had to go in to go through a sock, a sock, a sub-sock, then your skin, muscle, sheath and then to get to your tendon… man, either this guy is really good or very lucky at being able to do that.”

Socks, sub-socks, it all sounds so very enthralling and scientific.

On whether Melnyk has or is putting together a case against Matt Cooke…

“I am putting it together.”

And every single one of us is hoping this sees the light of day.

On who will hear it…

“I’ll bring it to (Brendan) Shanahan and to Gary (Bettman) and at that point, they can decide whether it’s something that they want to put out publicly, if I’m right. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.”

Good on the owner for potentially creating a spectacle and otherwise drawing attention to himself and the organization when it should really be making headlines for what its roster and coaching staff have accomplished on the ice. Well done.

On them not giving him the response that he’s looking for and him being able to use Prime Time Sports as a platform to present his evidence…

“They will. No, no, they will. Look, they’re very fair when it comes to that. They’ll listen to you. But you know, you have to come back with professional evidence by doctors, forensic doctors, that can do it. It’s actually being done in Toronto.”

It was a valiant effort by McCown to get Melnyk back on the show to present his case. I just hope for Melnyk’s sake that he hasn’t hired the crew of Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior to conduct the analysis.

I also can’t help but wonder whether someone within the organization put Melnyk up to this in an effort to keep him distracted and less involved around the club. 

On how involved he’ll be next Wednesday on trade deadline day…

“I think we’re going to be there, but there’s nothing really that we need to add to the team. But, we’re always open to any kind of… if there’s some big opportunities that come up. We’re in no hurry to do anything, but people are calling us. We’ll just sit back and I’d be just as happy if we didn’t do a thing.”

What is this sensible quote and why is it sprinkled into this otherwise hilarious interview?

On having those three goaltending assets…

“We’ve got three goalies but they’re also going to be pretty valuable come draft time. You know, I’ve got four elite players coming back over the next month. Anderson did a full, you know, our elite goalie, he did a full practice today. We’ve got the others starting to come back. God willing we’re in the playoffs, and it looks like we should be, we could potentially have everyone back. And then we’re going to be, I think, a force to reckon with. I’m happy for the Leafs by the way. I know you’re all Toronto guys, but I’m happy they’re in the mix. They played a good game yesterday, but it’s good to see them there. They should hopefully make the playoffs.”

Melnyk is completely incapable of escaping any hockey conversation without bringing up the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He is also a hand tipper.

Not that I’m complaining mind you. It’s somewhat reassuring to hear him say that the organization is content to let the goaltending situation play itself out until the draft.

For some time now, I’ve maintained that it’s probably in the team’s best interests to wait until this summer to move a goaltender. Personally, I’m of the opinion that Anderson should be the guy to go for two reasons: 1) I think Robin Lehner is ready to inherit the number one job, or at the very least, split the share of games with Ben Bishop; and 2) at some point, management has to move Craig Anderson to make room for Lehner as the number one guy. It doesn’t make sense to move Bishop, a player who is under team control, and then Anderson in consecutive years. As I wrote on Twitter the other night, why trade two to open a spot when you only have to clear one (and likely get better value by moving Anderson to boot)?

Moreover, if four players are close to returning to health (Anderson being one of them), that bodes well for a run. The Senators are one well-coached team that features an embarrassment of depth and swagger. One concern is the natural reaction the players may have with so many reputable players close to a return. You hope there’s no letdown or dependence on the ‘stars’ to carry this team; especially with everyone pulling in the same direction now.  

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