Melnykisms

The following is a list of infamous Eugene Melnyk quotes that appeared on the Ottawa Senators’ website, within newspapers or were made during some radio or television appearances. This list of quotes is by no means exhaustive, but if you feel that a quote is missing, please send the website an email (the6thsens at live dot com) with a cited reference to the quote and we’ll be sure to include it in the next round of revisions.

Melnyk’s comments appear in chronological order.

Before Purchasing the Senators:

“I don’t imagine we are going to go out and sign any big name free agents. I get satisfaction out of developing talent. Using the thoroughbred horse analogy, I had an opportunity to purchase the winner of last year’s (2002) Kentucky Derby but decided against it because I get more satisfaction out of starting with a yearling, develop it and see it prosper.”

January 31, 2003: Shortly after his name surfaced as a candidate to buy and own the Senators

“I’ve been a hockey fan since I was a kid. In this case my interest is, I don’t want to see a Canadian team going south of the border. It isn’t going to happen. My motivation is different than a lot of others, when I bought St. Michael’s (Majors Junior A team) it wasn’t because I needed an OHL team. The team was in trouble, the team had a fantastic history, and I just wanted to make sure it survived.”

September 29, 2003: Melnyk responds to a Sports Business Journal question that asked about the Senators’ ability to compete in a small market with a weak Canadian dollar

“Put it this way. If we don’t make the playoffs, I’ll probably lose a few million dollars. If we make the playoffs, we make a few million. That’s kind of how tight it is. It’s very well managed.”

April 19, 2004: Melnyk on his team’s chances following the Senators’ 2-1 OT win in Game 6 of their playoff series versus Toronto. The Senators were defeated 4-1 in game seven.

“We’re going to kill ‘em. We’re going to go in there and beat them on their own ice in front of their fans!”

June 9, 2004: following an introductory press conference with new head coach Bryan Murray

“I didn’t buy this team to be satisfied with being close. We’re going to be the best damn hockey team this city has ever seen.”

July 29, 2005: on the NHL’s new CBA and its impact on the Senators

“Eventually, it will put Ottawa on a level playing field with all the big markets. We were very fortunate over the last five years that we were able to put a great team on the ice with the budget we had. It’s almost miraculous that happened. That happened because of a good hockey operation, smart drafting, good player development and a little bit of luck. Eventually, luck runs out and you could be overtaken by teams that continue to throw big money at players and that’s just by sheer spending. Now, over time, I think we will be in a tremendous position when these people that have been able to spend can’t do it anymore. The one competitive advantage they had was cash. That has been taken off the table. Over time, if we stay smart, get a little bit of luck and continue to develop our players, we will be at the top of the game for a long time.”

December 17, 2005: Melnyk reflects on the rising salary cap level

“The cap is almost irrelevant to the Sens organization only because we’ve been operating under a cap now for a decade. What you want to do is be able to spend wisely. You don’t want to be raising ticket prices just to keep key players. But, saying that, we’ve got a program in place that we want to make sure that players who want to play in Ottawa, we want them to say, ‘We want to play here in this city in front of the best fans in the world.’ We want to give them a great environment to play in.”

“The alternative is, maybe you can make a million dollars somewhere else, but it comes down to quality of life, the quality of team you want to play for and the quality of fans you want to play in front of. That’s all we can do as a small market team. We can’t compete with the big dollar clubs. All we can do is make it a better place to play.”

Melnyk on how the Senators can continue to compete in the cap era

“You’ve got to be smart on management. You’ve got to have great scouts, which I think we do. I think with John Muckler, we have arguably the best general manager. and I think we have great coaching. You combine that all together, and we just play smarter and we can play doing it with less dollars. It’s the only way we can do it.”

May 20, 2006: Melnyk in a letter addressed to the team’s fans in the wake of their disappointing playoff ouster

“My first draft of this column was started two hours after losing last Saturday night around midnight. By 2 a.m., I realized that this was not the time to write a letter to our fans and supporters. It was titled “Crushed” and I was writing it only from the perspective of a passionate fan and not as a fan AND an owner.”

“We need to stop fearing the playoffs. We need to stop thinking that history is against us. We need to re-energize this team and ignite the spark that’s going to keep our edge in close third periods and win those overtime games. We need to make some changes, but remind ourselves that at one point, we were THE elite team this season. We need to think how we are going to win and win right through to the end.”

“To a fan, hockey is a great but sometimes brutal game — and only one of 30 cities is going to be feeling great by this time next month. But while you’re barbecuing this summer and speculating on next season, I want you to think about this: I firmly believe the Ottawa Senators will not only win the Stanley Cup, but we will build a team with the talent and drive to hoard that Cup year after year in the playoffs. I guarantee that you have never seen the level of determination that is about to go into putting together our 2006-2007 season. And I guarantee that I will not rest until Ottawa becomes the hockey Mecca of the NHL.

I’ve been accused in the past of harbouring unbridled optimism, but I’ll tell you this — I always deliver.”

November 16, 2006: Melnyk during a conference call with the media following his team’s slow start to the season

“It’s unusual for me to make a call like this, but after reading all the stories about personnel changes and me firing this person and that person, I kind of feel like I’ve been painted as the Angel of Death.”

November 16, 2006: Melnyk uses a horseracing analogy to describe the Senators’ season

“I look at this as a horse race. Nobody remembers who was first coming around the first corner at the Kentucky Derby, but everybody remembers who crossed the finish line first.”

Melnyk downplays prognostications or predictions that 2006/07 will the season the Senators win the Cup

“It’s pointless to say okay this is the one year that we are going to win. What do you do for the next five? That’s why you can’t have these knee-jerk reactions and panic reactions. I think the key thing is to take a deep breath, everybody stay calm, and the team will sort itself out.”

Melnyk reflects on Senators fandom

“We have the best fans in this league period, full-stop. What you’re seeing now is passion. The opposite, I would get very scared. If nobody cared, if nobody was screaming, if people weren’t calling into radio shows, if they weren’t sending e-mails, then I’d be worried.”

February 7, 2007: Melnyk in an email to the Ottawa Citizen encouraging fans to keep the faith despite the team’s struggles on the ice

“Don’t get the BBQ out till mid-June. It is going to be a great run. Mark that.”

May 4, 2007: Melnyk’s message to Leafs fans after the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the postseason – leaving the Senators as the NHL’s last Canadian team remaining in the postseason

“All you Leaf fans, all I can say is get on the bandwagon because we’re going all the way this year.”

October 4, 2007: After signing Dany Heatley to a contract extension, Melnyk comments on the Senators’ plan to contend

“We are going to think long term, we are going to commit all the resources we can to putting a championship team on the ice every year. It’s one thing to have a team that is a one-hit wonder, then collapses the following year. That’s not something we want to do here in Ottawa. I know for sure the fans don’t want that and the players don’t want that.”

October 30, 2008: Melnyk comments on Daniel Alfredsson’s new contract extension with the Senators

“It’s something I promised our organization and our fans when we signed him (to his current contract) in 2005. I recently repeated that’s what we wanted to get done, so that Daniel finishes his career in Ottawa. It’s a great day for us in the franchise and a great day for the people of Ottawa and the fans.”

December 22, 2008: Melnyk reflects on his team’s chances to turn their season around

“I think the media is going to call this a miracle turnaround, not me. To me, I know where we’re going. We’re going to grind out every game. But I can see those headlines come March, ‘big miracle turnaround,’ and all that.”

January 28, 2009: in a media availability to address the team’s struggles (again)

“Anybody that says we should blow up this organization should get their own bomb and go blow themselves up, OK?”

“This is not an organization that is completely crippled. It needs fine-tuning, it needs some tweaking, it needs a player here, a player there, a few good bounces and that’s it. But we’re nowhere near that type of environment.”

“I leave the hockey operations to the hockey people, I’ve always done that and we are going to continue doing whatever it takes to put a winning team on the ice and as far as I’m concerned, right now, we’re at a crossroads. This is it,” he said. “We have to win 26 to 27 games and it’s going to be done, and if it’s not done, well, we’ll have to deal with it.”

August 21, 2009: an upset Melnyk’s prepared statement in response Jim Balsillie including Melnyk’s name in a court filing that points out that not all NHL owners are of upstanding character. Balsillie mentioned Melnyk, who “reached a settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission for alleged violations of the Canadian Securities Act” and detailed how Melnyk also faced charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“I used to privately feel sympathy for (Balsillie’s) plight. But as I’ve watched his conduct with and towards the league and other owners, I clearly believe the sport of hockey is better off without him.”

“I’m comfortable in my own skin, Jim. You should look around at the friends you are losing and the damage you are causing yourself, the NHL and all Canadians.”

April 30, 2010: Melnyk talks to the Ottawa Sun in an exclusive interview that chronicles the team’s disappointing first round playoff exit.

“The next thing you know, we get injuries, we have to bring up young players and we get Pascal (Leclaire) getting hurt. Right around that time is when I said I thought we could be a top-five team and some people snickered at that. Then, we go on the hottest streak the team has ever had in its franchise history. If that same team was going into the playoffs, and that would have included the three injured players, we could have gone all the way. It was a rollercoaster to say the least.”

“We’ll lose money this year, there’s no question about that. It’s important for us, with the amount of money we’re spending and with the size of our marketplace, to go two rounds. We can’t move up the (ticket) prices and we haven’t. I’m glad we played three (home playoff) games. It’s very important for also following up on our season-ticket base. That’s extremely important. That’s coming back because it’s our job to show people that we care about the team and we are going to make whatever moves we need to make to put on a winning team. We’ve got a good pipeline of players coming and I think we’re going to be very competitive for years to come.”

October 8, 2009: Following a tumultuous offseason in which Dany Heatley asked for a trade, Melnyk assessed his team’s chances for the upcoming season

“You’re coming off a season where you had distractions. We had distractions during the summer … We didn’t make the playoffs. So everybody sits back. But I really think it’ll take just a few games for people to see this is the real deal and I think it is.

“We pretty much have everything we need. All we need now is for everybody to play up to their potential. If that happens, we’ll be as competitive as any team in the league and I really believe that. It’s not hype, it’s reality … We’ve got grit, we’ve got the attitude now. You look at the veterans who have been here for some time now. If they all play to their potential, we’re there.”

Melnyk reflects on fan’s tepid response at the box office

“They’ll be coming back and we’re going to get that funk together and that old swagger back.”

Melnyk reflects on the job Bryan Murrary did getting Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a second round draft pick for Dany Heatley

“It just shows you how experience at the hockey management level really comes through, because anybody less than a Bryan Murray couldn’t have pulled off a deal handcuffed the way he was. To be able to bring in the quality players that he did under those circumstances … hat’s off to him and I congratulated him.”

May 1, 2010: Melnyk commenting on Alexei Kovalev

“You just watch him holding on to the puck. You can’t get to this guy. In many ways, he reminds me of, but with much more finesse, of Sidney Crosby. He’s just very difficult to get the puck off of. If he just had a full season of consistency and playing the way he can, to me, he’s a superstar.”

September 16, 2010: when asked what was left for him to do once the Senators were awarded the 2012 NHL All-Star Game

“That’s the easiest question. Win the Stanley Cup. That’s all we’re going to try and do now.”

“(Winning the Cup) is not going to (take) 30 or 40 years, I tell you that.”

November 27, 2010: in a pre-game interview with HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman

“Buckle up, we’re going all the way this year.”

November 28, 2011: on the Battle of Ontario

“Any time we play the Leaflets, we love it.”

November 28, 2011: Melnyk on whether the Senators could be that season’s Montreal Canadiens

“Look where Montreal was a year ago. I remember exactly. I was skiing in the Laurentians and reading the Gazette, and everybody was just absolutely killing them. And where did they end up? Look how far they went in the playoffs. Don’t underestimate this team, or the heart of this team. Or the experience. I think, most importantly, their will to win. These are tough, tough guys.”

January 22, 2011: Melnyk’s exchange with the media as he gives a vote of confidence to GM Bryan Murray and head coach Cory Clouston

“There is no one, no one, on this planet that bleeds more than I do for this team, as a fan and as an owner.”

“We’re going to do what it takes to bring the Stanley Cup to Ottawa, whether it takes one, three or five years. It will happen. You have my commitment.”

“Don’t think for one second that we’re not putting a plan in place that’s methodical, calculated and with a lot of forethought to win a Stanley Cup. The reason I’ve been quiet is I’ve been working on a plan. That plan is now in motion.”

“I’m very optimistic going forward. We’ve got good prospects in the organization. We’ve drafted well. We’ve got a good pipeline of players and it can only get better.

January 25, 2011: Melnyk playing up the team’s ballyhooed prospects

“You know you look at guys like Lehner, Butler those guys. I mean these guys are going to be elite players.”

March 15, 2011: Melnyk discusses the NHL’s head shots pandemic and how he would handle it

“It happened to Jason Spezza. I complained about that and it didn’t get anywhere. It’s now happened to the elite player in the league Sidney Crosby.”

“It’s going to continue to happen unless there’s some radical stuff goes on. I’m talking about — and I’m as far to the right wing on this issue as you can ever get — you hit a guy in the head you’re gone and I mean gone.

“A deliberate, you don’t play hockey anymore. That’s the way you’re going to do it. You’re gone.”

“If it’s a accidental hit, that could be have been avoided, just because you’re stupid and you just skated the wrong way, but you hit the guy, fine, 20-game suspension.

“If it’s truly accidental and the guy just ran into you, you know what, give the guy a break. But, if it’s a deliberate hit you should not be in any game of hockey. I don’t care what anybody says, ‘We need some violence, we need this.’ Go to wrestling. Go to cage fighting. Don’t do it in the hockey game with elite players.

“There’s no excuse. Zero tolerance. You’re gone. Period. Stop.”

March 15, 2011: Melnyk on the goon culture and cheap shots that are pervading the game

“I have been a lone wolf on this one for years and all of a sudden it has become front-page news. I’ve been screaming murder over some of these hits. You get these goons, that you pay peanuts for, and the guy has got one sole purpose -  that’s to go out and try to decimate your elite players.”

March 16, 2011: Melnyk on the decision to rebuild the Senators

“Well it’s interesting. When I made up my mind, I was looking at a three or four year process. And all of a sudden you see these young kids stepping up. I gotta stop calling them kids… these young adults start stepping up the way they have. Starting to beat up on teams that are supposed to be unbeatable. Winning streaks… You know, where is this all coming from? And Bryan (Murray) was very confident when we first made the decision. He says, “Eugene, don’t think is a three or four year process. This could be a year or two. We could be competitive next year but the year after that, if some of the guys step up and we get the goaltending we need, we could be there in two years… maybe three tops. It’s not bad! If I knew that in the beginning, I would have made the decision a long time ago. (laughter)”

April 5, 2011: Melnyk on the NHL’s goon culture

“Some goon out there who probably makes one tenth of that salary is paid to go out, and like I said are paid to go out and do a deliberate hit. They should not be playing hockey, just get rid of them. It happened in Ottawa in the OHL, they used to have this goon out there that used to go and maim people. I think he’s in jail now or something, I won’t mention his name. But these guys exist you just got to get rid of them.”

April 6, 2011: on the Senators’ rebuild and how long it should take before they are a contender

“Once you’re in a death spiral, it’s over. You can’t dig yourself out of those holes. It just gets worse and worse and worse… and the next thing you know, it all falls apart. What we did is one month before the trade deadline, we made the decision that we’ve got to pack it in and we’ve got to rebuild. And we’ve started that process and Bryan has done an excellent job in doing that. Listen, a lot of GMs and people in general would just sit there and say, ‘Listen, I’ve got no guarantee that I’m around next year. Why should I bust myself to try and do something here? I’ll do it for somebody else.’ He did a 180-degrees of that and was able to do the best that he could do and brought in some fantastic talent. The latest being this NCAA kid who is a phenom. Da Costa is just one of these guys who everyone was after and we landed him and now he’s probably going to play, if he plays up to par, he’s going to be our second line center. So, you pick these kinds of people up for under a million dollars and I think that’s a huge score. We’ve got 5 draft picks in the first two rounds next year. We’re going to be able to trade up if we want to. And that’s the only reason, I thought it was going to take… I was ready for 3-4 years… I think it can be done in a couple…”

“When the decision was made, it was like ‘Buckle down for four years,’ but then all of a sudden you started seeing him at work and what we were able to get for guys like Fisher and some of the other players that we traded away. This could be… We could be back in the playoffs next year and we could be a major contender within two years.”

“Well, we’ve got to be careful though. What I’m saying here is that I’m speaking to character as well. And there’s a lot of good guys in our organization because we’ve gotten rid of all the bad guys.”

April 8, 2011: addressing his previous comment about “getting rid of all the bad guys”

“Again, let’s put it into context. 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.”

“Not at this point, no we don’t. We know we have a lot of young players, which will help us with the cap. We’re going to be one of the few teams that will have the opportunity, when it comes to trade deadlines or whenever, when it requires, we’ll have space, so that’s going to create even more opportunities next year and the year after. So I think we’re going to be in a very good position, we’ve got draft picks, we’ve got five in the first two rounds as everybody knows, and you know, if we do very, very well, we may need that space three years from now, so we’ve got to be nimble.”

September 11, 2011: on the Senators’ finances and whether they are in financial trouble

“We don’t have to make the playoffs anymore to make money. We don’t have to. I’m telling you now. All those big fat contracts that we had before that weren’t getting us anywhere, you know. Our ticket sales are ahead of last year…ahead!”

September 15, 2011: addressing rumours on if he is close to selling the Ottawa Senators

“I would say (I would sell) if they moved Scotiabank Place up to heaven?… (laughter)…Not gonna happen. I mean who ever came up with that? I was hoping to come up with something funny, but that isn’t even funny. No, I’m being serious the team is never going to be sold. There’s only so many franchises in Canada. You’re a hockey person…what else do you want in life? You own an NHL hockey franchise that can be competitive, and I have a lot of fun with. And it’s not for sale, it’s never for sale, there’s not a number you can come up with that I would consider. It’s just a waste of time.”

“You know what, they’re absolutely dead on — if you put me into the Wizard of Oz next to Dorothy while she’s clicking her heels. They’re out of their minds. That team will never be sold.”

September 15, 2011: on removing goons from the NHL

“If it’s a goon out there, he shouldn’t be playing hockey. They should go into the UFC. They have beautiful nice cages and everything else.”

January 17, 2012: Commenting on Erik Karlsson’s start to what would be his Norris Trophy winning season

“Erik Karlsson has a very unique attitude and I’m being nice here. It’s a very aggressive attitude that is full of cockiness… which is great because that’s confidence and he goes out there and again, the kid is fearless. He doesn’t care. He really doesn’t care. He just goes out and does his thing. He had to learn a few things from the coaches and the veterans because he was giving us all coronaries by doing certain things that he shouldn’t be doing and he’s corrected them. How can you argue with where he is? The kid’s a star and that’s all I can tell you.”

Melnyk on Ottawa’s success and whether the length of the rebuild was smaller than originally anticipated

“Everybody kind of… it wasn’t pleasant but it was expected that we would go through a minimum of two years, possibly three, before we had a contender back out on the ice. Now you see people and they are almost giddy.”

January 24, 2012: on Alex Ovechkin opting out of the 2012 NHL All-Star Game because of a suspension

“Yeah, I heard that one. That was quite the spinmeister that came up with that one. That was later on this afternoon; the early part was that his heart was broken. And I said, ‘well pass me the violin’. Please, give me a break. Do you think that anyone is distracted by a three game suspension? A season, I could understand but those three game suspensions are handed out like yellow cards in a soccer game. It happens, so big deal.”

Melnyk on the magnitude of the All-Star Game and what it means for Ottawa

“It’s going to be broadcast… I didn’t even realize that there are 150 countries in the world. I think there are only in 130 in the United Nations or something but it’s going to be broadcast in 150 countries around the world. This is huge stuff. This is huge for Canada and it’s going to be massive for Ottawa.”

Melnyk on how the platform of the 2012 NHL All-Star Game will shine a light on Ottawa’s success since their rebuild

“The introduction is one of the major storylines for guys like yourselves and everybody else and everybody around the world is going to talk about what has transpired in Ottawa which is nothing short of miraculous. We’re very fortunate and it’s something that’s going to go into textbooks: how to build competitive teams during a rebuild. It just doesn’t happen.”

Melnyk on Mika Zibanejad’s development

“Mika we had to send back and it was a big, big, big debate – whether to send him back or keep him here. And we decided to put him back in the Elite league and he’s just not getting the time that he should, but that’s another matter.”

Melnyk on the magnitude of Ottawa’s rebuild and roster overhaul

“We did! We did Damien! We did! That’s exactly what we did! We tore it apart! And when we put it back together again, all of a sudden it started working again. We ripped it to pieces, the only thing that we left behind were four veterans. We had to keep the veterans.”

January 28, 2012: Melnyk on what’s most important for the Ottawa Senators

“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.”

February 20, 2012: on Erik Karlsson

“You can’t really tell on television how fast this kid is until you get close up. You’ll see (Erik Karlsson) just whiz by people and they’ll go, ‘Well, what happened there?’”

On the philosophy of spending to win

“I could have saved myself a lot of money to change my philosophy seven or eight years ago. Things change. Management changes. The coaching staffs change. They come in with different philosophies that you don’t have to spend your way into it. Some do and some always will because they can afford it or cannot afford not to be in the hunt. You can always be in the hunt by spending to the top end at least somewhere but the frustrating part is where you’re nowhere and you’re spending to the cap. That’s what happened to us for a couple of years and that’s what happening to some franchises that spent to the cap for years for many, many years and weren’t even close.”

March 22, 2012: on whether you need to spend to the cap to win

“You can spend to the cap — it’s very easy. Any idiot can do that. The really elite teams are the ones that can (put in) elite management and elite coaching, that can put a competitive team on the ice year-after-year, and not have to buy that team.”

“They can do it through internal growth. And that’s the sign of a really elite group. And that’s what we want to be.”

“We didn’t believe that we would be anywhere near the playoff run and here we are, just a couple of wins away from getting in, and anything can happen.”

Melnyk on whether the Senators’ revenue situation

“Up until this year, we had to make two rounds of playoffs just to break even. Now we are doing well enough that we break even, pretty much, just finishing off the season and everything else kind of gets bonused out. We still have some hangovers from previous contracts that we’re still obligated to fulfill, at least in payment, but once those are all cleaned up in the next couple of years, things can all come together where the business of hockey actually pays. The cheques start going, hopefully, the other way.”

On whether the Senators will ever be able to spend to the cap ceiling again

“I think that that would be completely dependent on our ability to…It depends what the cap is, so we don’t know what that’s going to be and frankly, it would go against my philosophy altogether. I think there’s been a lot of sports out there where there’s been a contraction of talent, where the spread of what you pay an average player can be dramatically wide, but yet the talent pool is almost equal. I actually see it in horse racing, believe it or not. You’ll see a horse that was bought for $30,000 and a horse that somebody paid $2 million for, and guess who wins the race? It’s the $30,000 horse.”

On how to successfully build a team and whether success is predicated on spending money

“It’s going to take, and it’s happening already with owners that are smartening up, because they frankly don’t survive the financial pain that they have to go through to learn a very expensive lesson, and that is that you can’t just buy yourself a team, that you have to put one together piece-by-piece. At it starts right at the top, from the GM, down to the assistant GMs and the scouts, to all of the staff in the hockey operations, including the coaches and all the specialty coaches and then eventually you get to the players…You’ve got two choices, you can either draft badly and then you’re going to pay for success, or you invest into your scouting programs, as we do, and it creates great dividends. We had our eye on Karlsson and actually traded up for him. There’ s a couple of others that we tried to and we just couldn’t get to them. It’s one of the reasons I stuck with Bryan, because when you’re doing this job, it’s who’s been there, done that and knows how to play that game and what’s acceptable, what’s not acceptable and in our case, I think we’ve put together all the pieces that we needed. We had an issue with our centres, we didn’t have a second-liner and yeah, we had to give up a piece of our future in Rundblad, but it is what it is. If you want to be competitive, you need a centre and you need him now.”

Melnyk on what it means to own the Ottawa Senators

“I thought I was just buying a hockey team, I was buying an institution and with that comes with responsibility to maintain that institution at the highest standard and to make people proud of where they’re from, to say I’m from Ottawa and for them to say “wow, I was there for the all-star game or wow, I saw your thing on television., I can’t wait to get out there. It’s a big responsibility to do that and I take it seriously, and to do that…it’s my big roundabout was of saying no, don’t screw with our hockey team.

Melnyk on improved security measures for Maple Leafs games in Ottawa

“We absolutely did (ramp up security). Some of it you saw, some of it you didn’t see…(refers to increased video monitoring in the arena)…If it starts getting out of hand, we’re just not even going to let ‘em in the building, because you can kind of pretty much tell when a guy’s out of his mind before he even gets in the door.

“It’s not a lot of people. Generally they’re okay. Yeah, they’re fans, yes they’re boorish, but I can tell you places I wouldn’t go without heavy security myself. They wouldn’t even know I’m there. I wouldn’t dare wear a sweater. Philadelphia’s one of them. You ask me who I would not want to play? I wouldn’t want to play New Jersey or Philadelphia. You’re going into a war zone (laughs). I’d rather be in Kandahar, you know I was there a few years ago visiting troops. I’d rather go there than go into those places. Yeah, those are tough cookies. But in all seriousness, I take it very, very seriously, and we won’t put up with it.”

“At the end of the day, I’ve got little ones, a nine and 13 year old and I’ll be damned if some guy is going to pour a beer on them or whatever, or curse. That’s just not going to happen.”

March 24, 2012: on the state of the Senators

Eugene Melnyk wearing a hat that says “Relax”. That’s what he wants everybody to do. #Sens

— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 24, 2012

July 31, 2012: on the status of the Senators’ rebuild and how far along the team is in it

“Well, it is ahead of schedule and I can tell you that the biggest thrill is we were actually right. Sometimes you do these things and they just blow up on you and you spend the next five years rebuilding. We said that it was a three year rebuild. After the first year, we showed results. (After) the second year, I think we’re going to show even better results than this year. And let me tell you something, there wasn’t a team in (the Eastern Conference Playoffs) that we could not have beaten going all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. How do you pick the LA Kings, who were eighth in their division and barely made the playoffs and all of a sudden, they walk away with the Stanley Cup? Once you hit those playoffs, I’m telling you, anything can happen. Absolutely anything can happen. We were a couple of goalposts away in New York from going to the next round. We could have taken down the next guys. The parity, the absolute parity in this league now is second to none. It’s exciting in the fact that you can dream the dream right through and it happens. And it can happen!”

On whether the team had to spend to the cap to be successful

“I gave up with this theory about going over the top. I really did. We blew our brains out spending to the cap and what we proved last year is that we don’t have to do that. I mean, all that does is cover up our mistakes. Really, at the end of the day, if you invest into scouting, into development of these players, you’re going to get what you’re going to get. And you can’t buy that. You can’t buy heart. You can’t buy the fans. You can’t buy the dressing room. And my attitude, look, we were going to bid on a couple of these (free agents). We were prepared to. We had presentations done. We were all ready to go. We put our July 1st holidays on hold and I called Bryan two days before and I said, ‘Bryan, did you see these contracts and numbers that these people are throwing around?’ and he said ‘Yep. That is what we’re going to have to pay.’ And I said, ‘Do you want to blow your weekend with your grandkids and kids on July 1st and waste our time because we’re not going to spend that kind of money?’ And he says, ‘No, let’s enjoy our barbeques and let somebody else blow their brains out.’ And they did it. I don’t wish them bad luck, but I don’t think that (spending frivolously) is the solution.”

“It takes a team of people that are talented, devoted and have something to work with to make a team and that’s the attitude. I can tell you, that is much more satisfying to win when you do that than basically buying and putting a team together that way.”

November 2, 2012: Melnyk on how important the Senators are to the local economy

“Behind the feds (federal government), we’re the second largest employer in Ottawa, period. We’re huge. Yeah, we’re huge.”

January 13, 2013: Melnyk on how important it is that the lockout is over

“The NHL is back. I’m sure that a lot of people, including the Prime Minister, can now talk about hockey and what Erik Karlsson may be coming to the rink wearing to the rink today. But he doesn’t have to talk about politics.”

Melnyk selling fans on the success of the rebuild

“And I just want to remind everyone, last year was the first year of a three-year rebuild plan. This is year two. And already, I recall this as if it was yesterday, in the warzone in Madison Square Garden, wearing somebody else’s beer and fighting out game seven in the quarterfinals.”

Melnyk on how the organization plans to win back fans following another lockout

“If we can do that, we have accomplished more than any free hot dog or anything else that we can give away. Although the hot dogs are important, we were told in a survey. It’s true, hot dogs are (important), I don’t know. Don’t ask me.”

“In all of my years in ownership, I’ve never seen this team have the kind of the depth that it has today. We are the envy.”

Melnyk on how people in Toronto are pulling for the Senators

“There is a lot of people and a lot whispering, they don’t want to admit it. Even in Leaflet yesterday, I was in Toronto, and a guy had a Toronto Maple Leaf license plate and I’m just walking down the street and the guy is yelling, ‘Go Sens’. Talk about, really, there is a big undertone in the NHL and I know a lot of the hockey people will hear this, that we are in fact, a quiet, quiet favourite but truly, we want to be positioned as an underdog.”

Melnyk on the importance of never having another work stoppage

“You can maybe (have a labour stoppage) once or maybe do it twice. Hopefully people forgive us, but there is no third time. There is no third time.”

Melnyk on how the city of Ottawa embraces winning with a small market mentality

“But there’s nothing more exciting than wanting to be part of a winning organization and this city has proven time and time again that it rallies around the little guy. And if you don’t think we are the little guy, we are the little guy. We can’t spend with those goliaths, so we need all the help that we can get. I think this city will rally around the team very, very quickly and I’m hoping that it rallies around (them) quickly, but I’m pretty confident that it will.”

February 14, 2013: Melnyk speaks following the Erik Karlsson/Matt Cooke incident in which 70-percent of Karlsson’s Achilles tendon is sliced by Cooke’s skate

“I’m very upset, actually I’m more than upset, I’m outraged that in this day and age this continues. Whether it’s accidental or not, that’s not our job to judge. That’s why the NHL is there to assess it.”

“We’ll assess it internally over the coming weeks and come to our own conclusions. For now, we’ve got to worry now about filling the roster, being competitive and, hopefully, a couple of these (injured) players come back if we get in the playoffs.”

“I can’t comment on (Cooke not getting suspended) only because it’s not helpful for anybody. They came to their conclusions and it’s not going to change anything.”

“I’ve been talking about goons playing in our league for years now and I’m on record when Spezza got hurt and I said that one day it’s going to be somebody else’s superstar and sure enough within 60 days Sidney Crosby got taken out (in the Winter Classic by Washington’s David Steckel). I’m just hoping that this is something that is looked at for what it is and something positive comes out of what is really a tragedy for us.” “This guy should be kicked … He doesn’t belong in the league. He belongs somewhere where the goons play. Get him in the Central league. He can be a $60,000-a-year guy playing pick-up hockey there.”

“The guy does not deserve … He’s got one purpose. I remember when this happened with Spezza. I said, ‘If these are the rules, I just want to know.’ We’ll play with the same rules. Make sure you have one or two goons whose job is to do this either intentionally or unintentionally.”

“I’m OK with it, just tell me I’m OK with it. I play by the rules. I’m just shocked an organization would do this.”

“I really believe with fan support that this is a team that has the motivation and the veterans that can motivate the young ones, that we can pull together and I believe that we can pull this off. These guys can use this to rally around this tragedy.”

“I believe we can be lucky enough to pull this off.”

February 14, 2013: Melnyk on how the crowds in Ottawa are mostly comprised of Toronto fans when the Maple Leafs come to town

“This is a Toronto story. Obviously, they have nothing better to talk about. Certainly, not being in the playoffs (since 2004), they are desperate for stories. This is something that’s concocted.”

“We welcome their fans. We do not welcome any fans that are boorish drunkards and that’s not to say that all Leaf fans that come to Ottawa are drunkards, but there are many of them and it’s very obvious we want to make sure they know we know who they are.”

“At the end of the day, I frankly don’t care if the place is filled with (Leaf fans) because they’re buying tickets. What we have done is encouraged our season ticket holders to buy more tickets and not re-sell them. I don’t think we can stop that and I don’t think we want to. It was taken out of context.”

March 28, 2013: on the acquisition of 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.”

After promoting the acquisition of Kassian, Melnyk preaches the importance of ridding the NHL of goons

“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.” “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.”

On how the Erik Karlsson injury study is going and whether Melnyk will share the findings with the public

“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.”

“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.”

May 8, 2013: Melnyk on the Senators’ brawl with the Montreal Canadiens during the first round of the 2013 playoffs

“That was my immediate reaction, and that is, just tell these guys, ‘You’re not a sissy, run. Run! Run! Don’t let these guys get you into anything and they were smart.”

Melnyk on updating the public to the status of his Erik Karlsson injury study

“How much money do you got? I need a suitcase with about a hundred g’s and then I can talk all I want. In all seriousness, look, I think there was a misconception. I used a stupid word; that was the problem and all of a sudden, that became the big joke. Because it was not a joke. I used the word forensic. It’s not forensic. I just don’t know what was on my mind when I was thinking forensic. It was simply to get to the bottom of certain things. And I’ll do anything, like any owner would do, to protect our players. This is not a witch hunt of any sort. There’s things that we can do for the game. I come from a background of clinical studies. That is my business. I’ve been doing it for over 25-30 years and whether it’s the proper socks, whatever it takes, what could have happened differently? And what did happen because there’s a conflict of what did happen? So rather than comment on it now, I’m going to wait until after the season. I don’t want to distract anybody and we’ll release the information that we have. I take this very seriously and it’s not meant to do anything other than potentially help other players, other teams, so (history) doesn’t repeat itself. I just used a stupid word but I think it’s a lot of fun because it’s got me… the word forensic, all of a sudden it’s CSI Ottawa. I bet in Ottawa, CSI Ottawa skyrocketed in its ratings.”

July 9, 2013

Melnyk was asked if the the hockey team makes a profit. “Substantial losses.” #Sens — AJ Jakubec (@AJonSports) July 9, 2013

August 9, 2013: Melnyk on whether the Senators could have afforded Bobby Ryan had the organization retained Daniel Alfredsson “To come up with the kind of money they were talking about and being fiscally responsible and ensuring the ongoing success of the organization, we knew we needed to add a Bobby Ryan-type player. And at the end, when I said blank cheque, that would have meant we would not have gotten the (Bobby Ryan-type player). Couldn’t afford it. Just couldn’t do it.” On how the Daniel Alfredsson situation played out “I’m definitely OK with the way things happened. You can’t turn back the clock. Look, we play as a team, and no one single player supersedes the betterment of the whole team.” “I think he’s wrong, I’ll tell you that, that’s where we part ways — I disagree — ‘cause I think we’re a better team, but if he believes it and he’s committed to it, then it was his prerogative. All we could do is wish him all the best. We look forward to Detroit finishing right behind us and him having a good year.” On the addition of Bobby Ryan “Remember, this guy was picked right behind Sidney Crosby as a No. 2 pick, and when he comes here to Ottawa and sees what hockey is really about — it’s not Anaheim — I think he’s going to just fall off his chair, because he will be supported.” On how difficult it is to balance a team’s competitiveness is linked to attendance “We’re not the New York Rangers, we’re not the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I’m trying to keep ticket prices reasonable, because there’s a very delicate balance between ticket pricing, attendance and being able to put a competitive team (on the ice).” August 11, 2013: Melnyk on the internal budget for players and the team’s financial situation “If we want to even spend a few extra million dollars, that just goes right out of my pocket. It’s a business, people have to understand.” “This is not philanthropy. I love the team, but there’s only so much you can bear.” “We have to work within our means, and it’s got nothing to do with me. That’s another misconception. It has nothing to do with my finances. This is an operation. I own seven other companies. I can’t go to the Senators bank and say I have a pharmaceutical company over here that needs $10 million because they want to develop some new drug and take money from X and put it into Y. And the reverse is the same thing. They have to stand on their own.” August 15, 2013: on whether the Senators could raise the internal budget spent on players “Could we spend more money on players? You could, but stats have proven over and over that there is a road of less return because you’re starting then to pay for more mediocre players, especially in the unrestricted free agent market where everybody is scrambling. It’s no different than the horses. You’ve got your superstars up here, then you’ve got the other 80 per cent.” August 16, 2013: Melnyk comments to the Ottawa Sun on a blog post that alleged the Senators were in financial disarray “No chance. It’s all B.S. coming from a random useless blogger. All this stuff is nonsense. Kinda annoying as well … doing just fine thank you very much!” Melnyk blames Alfredsson’s agent for Alfie’s decision to leave “For anyone to even suggest the remote possibility that Bryan Murray is not fully honest in his clear recollection of events should be ashamed of themselves. I point the finger squarely on JP Barry, the man who blessed us with the (Dany) Heatley mess.” “If you want to play the blame game – that is where you should be looking. I have a lot of respect for Daniel. I simply think he was not told the whole story or worse, was lied to. I won’t be commenting on this again. We are busy and have a Stanley Cup to win.”  September 11, 2013: Melnyk comments on the 2013/14 Senators following a season in which the Senators enjoyed success despite many of its best players succumbing to serious injury “If we stay healthy or marginally healthy, we’re going to go deep.”  September 11, 2013: Melnyk speaking to Toronto’s Bob McCown about his fight with the City of Ottawa to bring a casino to Kanata – disparaging Rideau Carleton Raceway (the City’s preferred site for a casino) in the process “(Rideau Carleton Raceway) is a little, tiny C-Track that wouldn’t even make it in the Idaho State Fair.” “(Rideau Carleton Raceway) is kind of like in a bad area. It’s not a great area. It’s kind of near the airportish, but downtown and it’s like nowhere. There’s no public transit or anything like that. You would never go there, put it that way.” “Oh, I wouldn’t go (to Rideau Carleton Raceway) without an army.” Melnyk questions the City of Ottawa’s decision to sole-source the casino bid. “These guys just said, ‘No, it’s going to be (at RCR) or it’s not going to be anywhere. Period. You don’t even submit (a bid).’ Win, lose or draw, I don’t mind losing. But these guys didn’t even give me a shot. Then you’ve got the Mayor. I don’t know what planet he’s flown in from, but he then turns around and says, ‘No, no, (RCR) is the only place we’re going to do it.’ And then his Deputy Mayor, Steve Desroches, says in this big, big meeting where all the pow-wows get together and says, ‘There’s too much competition in the world right now.’ And then I said, ‘You know what, they should have named Neptune after you – that’s where you belong because… what did you just say? Tell me again how you got elected.’” Melnyk on whether the casino issue is dead “No, it’s not. We’re just getting warmed up.” September 27, 2013: Melnyk on the Senators’ internal budget and the team’s ability to take on salary to add a player “We’re already are over budget, I just found out yesterday, but as I said we’ll do whatever it takes. We’ve got to be smart about it, I’m not a big fan of rentals, but if we need to fill a spot I’ll leave that to Bryan (Murray) to come back and say this could make a big difference for us, especially if we need to fill a spot so that’s not beyond the realm of reality that we have to live with.” On how the Senators have to be in the top half of spenders to have a chance to contend in the NHL “Well, you know what I’ve decided to keep quiet about it for about a month, but no, my involvement remains — I’m a natural hockey fan, this is not a business but you have to treat it like a business because otherwise you’re not going to have a business and you’re not going to have a team. There was no plan C and we’re now regrouping to see what we might be able to still do with the city’s cooperation and at this point we’re hoping for the best, but as far as the organization is concerned, again, the idea of moving the team is not a reality. It’s not going to happen, but what is going to happen is if the salary cap is going to increase — I know it, it’s just going to happen, the revenues of the league are going very, very well, they’ve fixed all the problem franchises and now people are spending to the cap. We spent to the cap two years in a row and didn’t make the playoffs so I’m not a big fan of spending because you’ve just got to spend, but we need cooperation and help, it’s as simple as that, because we’re being outspent by everyone else and to be competitive you have to be at least in the top half of spenders. That’s a stat, it’s not just something I’ve made up, you have to be in the top half — we are — if you’re not you don’t have much of a chance, it’s just not going to happen.” On whether he would ever take on a partner or sell the team “No, if you recall 10 years ago I was the only guy standing, there was no one else. People say ‘Oh you could get an equity buyer’ or you could do this, I don’t see anybody, I don’t get any phone calls. Those people don’t exist, but the best thing to do is you have to turn it around and just work the problem. That’s what we’ve got to do we’ve got to work the problem and without — this is a price sensitive market and we need to be able to compete and we’re doing everything we can to do that. But no, there’s no jeopardy there.” September 27, 2013: Melnyk on the team breaking even this season even if it does not qualify for postseason play

October 17, 2013: Melnyk reflecting on NHL player Olympic participation and forgetting that the team’s 2007 Cup Final appearance was the year after the 2006 Olympics in Turin.

“Well yeah, you look at what happened this year and I remember ’07. The difference between us winning a Stanley Cup and not winning a Stanley Cup was when, if you’ll recall, Hasek got hurt at the Olympics. We were on a roll and God knows what could have happened if we had him there.”

Melnyk downplaying the Senators’ internal budget

“Well you know what, there are a lot of numbers get thrown around and you’re, we’re not really 26th. I know that Capgeek and all these guys, they all do these estimates and stuff like that, but that doesn’t really show the whole picture because the difference between being in the third quartile or the second quartile is so miniscule.”

Melnyk on the importance of cap space

“The big commodity that we have is cap space. If we have an injury and we need to fill a void and that’s going to be the difference between going an extra round or deeper, then I’m prepared to do it.”

Melnyk on the team’s attendance woes to start the 2013/14 season

“It was crazy starting off, I’ve never seen it before, where you start the first six games on the road. But we took it. We could have changed it a little bit if we wanted to, because there is room to discuss it. But hey, the hockey ops people said, ‘We’re fine with it. Get it out of the way and then we never have to deal with it.’ That’s a brutal trip. I don’t know if any of you guys went on that trip, but even the reporters that I talked to that came back, they’re just wasted. I was watching at home and I was dying.”

Melnyk on the Ottawa Citizen’s report that the Senators lost $94 million during his tenure as owner

“Yeah, theywere wrong. It’s $110 (million) but go ahead.”

Melnyk on where the NHL’s salary cap is headed

“I’m looking five years out, ten years out. I know the cap is going up. We know. We just know the revenues are increasing throughout the whole league. We get the numbers, we go to the presentations and everything else because we have to prepare for this stuff. You do have to spend but you don’t have to spend toe-to-toe with the guys that have money to throw around and we know all those guys. And a lot of times, they spend money for no reason. What they’re doing is spending money to cover up for mistakes. At one point, there’s a team that has 16 million dollars of excess cap down in the minors, I mean ‘Hello?’ You can’t do that anymore, thankfully. But, we are in a great, great spot where cap space is now a massive commodity where you can pick up, you’ll be able to pick players just to unload salaries. It’s going to happen. We’re going to be in a sweet spot – it’s like having three first round draft picks.”

November 28, 2013: Melnyk’s assessment of his team after 24 hockey games

“I’ve never seen anything like it where when we go up against our biggest of divisional rivals – Toronto, Montreal, Detroit and Boston – we smoke those guys and then we come up against what I call the ‘two foot putt games’, we blow them.”

Melnyk blames the schedule for the team’s start

“It’s kind of a funky start for us. You start off with everybody else is playing at home and everybody else is excited about hockey and we’re out on the road somewhere in California. What are we doing out in California when everybody else is in the northeast playing hockey? So that didn’t help, but as the season starts… you know, we have a finicky fan base and you’ve got to live with it.”

Melnyk on the organization’s change in ticket policy and how they’ve stopped giving away free or comp’d tickets

“If you want to kill your future fan base, start giving away tickets to the guy next to you when you paid $150. It’s not going to happen, so what you’re seeing is truly the fan base which we want to grow off of. We’re doing very well with our seasons tickets but the walk ups have been what hasn’t happened yet.”

Melnyk on being Ottawa’s owner

“I think at the end of the day, it’s a very coveted position to be in – to be an owner of an NHL hockey team in Canada. I thank my stars every single day that I’m there and I’m really pleased to be in Ottawa to be able do that, especially in the nation’s capital.”

Melnyk on his team’s inability or unwillingness to spend

“Yeah, that’s a bit of a fallacy that we wouldn’t spend. We’re just spending wisely – that’s all we’re doing. We’re saying look, this is the number, let’s see what we can do with this number. But, if Bryan (Murray) comes back and says, ‘Look, it’s going to cost us an extra (x) to get so-and-so and this could make the difference for us going into the playoff run then of course we’re going to do it. You’d gotta be nuts not to, especially when you’re dealing with someone like a Bryan Murray who’s arguably one of the best GMs in the NHL; who’s probably arguably the most experienced one in the NHL.”

Melnyk comments on the Forbes valuations that depict on Ottawa franchise that has significantly appreciated in value over the past number of years

“‘(The Forbes valuations are) dead wrong because (the Senators) are actually priceless,’ but that’s me talking. Look, it is what it is. It actually doesn’t matter. I don’t pay much attention to it because you know who’s going to be interested in that? (It) is my estate because that’s what it’s going to take to sell the team.”

December 2, 2013: Melnyk on whether the Senators would ever retire Daniel Alfredsson’s number

“There’s no question he’s probably the most prominent person that any organization in modern day Ottawa Senators. It is not a gimme, but I can tell you what, if I was a betting man, I would bet on it.”

Melnyk on how the organization internal budget

“Well, we spend our money very wisely and I think that’s the mantra that we have throughout the entire organization. If there’s a person or a player who we think could make a big difference, then we would, absolutely. But it’s very early in the season. You know, we’re at the quarter pole. And if this was a horse race, I bet you couldn’t tell me who was at the quarter pole in the Kentucky Derby this year, but a lot of horse players who could tell you who would win. So, we’ve got some time.”

December 16, 2013: Melnyk on whether the Senators are hurting at the box office

“We’ve had a very strange schedule this year that made it difficult to sell the walk-up tickets, but our season tickets are up 2,000 seats and our revenue is up.”

January 13, 2014: Melnyk exhibits some passive-aggressive behaviour when a reporter asks a question during a conference call

“Well, I think first of all, congratulations on the good memory.”

January 14, 2014: Melnyk on the Senators’ depth

“I believe that the only currency in the NHL is not money, it is (draft) picks and prospects. It is as simple as that and we have so many prospects. We have guys that should be playing in the NHL next year for sure that won’t make the team because the roster is full.”

Melnyk on whether the Senators could add salary to make the team better

“If we have to find somebody in the UFA (market), we’re going to be very, very cautious of how we spend our money. And at the end of the day, all that really counts is points per dollar and that’s the way I measure us and I think that’s the way every team should be measuring themselves.”

Melnyk confuses the timeline and forgets that the 2006 Olympic Games did not occur in the same season that the Senators reached the 2007 Stanley Cup Final

“After we lost to Anaheim in the Finals of the Stanley Cup, we had a ton of players that went over to the Olympics and we lost (Dominik) Hasek. That could have been… the goalie… that could have been the difference of the Stanley Cup for us.”

“Yeah, that was the year that we lost Hasek. Hasek played goal and we lost him to an injury. A stupid injury. It was a groin injury and we lost in five games to Anaheim in the (Stanley Cup) Finals.”

Melnyk on the importance of having less Olympians because it means a rested team for the stretch

“I did a study, a very extensive study on the correlation between the number of players a team sends to the Olympics and (the team’s) post-Olympic performance and there is an exact reverse correlation – meaning the more players you send, the worse you’ll do afterwards.”

January 14, 2014: Melnyk comments on Bryan Murray’s two-year extension as general manager

“I think huge. (Bryan Murray) wants to walk out of there, as do I, with a Stanley Cup but we don’t want to wait for years three and four to do that. Look, like I keep saying, anything can happen. Once you get into… you’ve got to get into the playoffs. Once you’re in the playoffs, we’ve seen historically that eighth place teams in the Conference come back and win the Stanley Cup. We came very close against Anaheim and if it wasn’t for one injury… You know, I was just talking to Pierre about that because he was around. If Hasek didn’t get hurt during the Olympic year, then who knows what could have happened?”

On the Senators eventually having to reach a point in which they go for it

“We went to the OHL Finals and we lost in that – both to Owen Sound. But, we rolled the dice and we said, ‘You know what? We’re going to take a shot and this may be the time – whether it’s this year, next year or the following year – that we take that big shot, but saying that… I don’t think the UFA market is the place. I think Bryan agrees because it does get crazy at that time of year, but it’s not to say we wouldn’t bring in a piece of the puzzle before the trading deadline because at that time, the only currency that really matters to other teams are picks and prospects. And we have a ton of prospects, and that’s because we had some great picks over the last few years. And there are guys right now that should be playing in the NHL or are a year away from playing in the NHL that just simply won’t make our roster. We’re that good and these young guys are just growing into the positions and it’s for the benefit of these players and our team, to bring in some veterans to get us to the finish line.”

Melnyk on whether the Senators having to go for it correlates having to invest more heavily in payroll

“Well, well, hold on a second. No, no, I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that because (spending money) is a fool’s game and I keep telling people that. Everyone keeps thinking that ‘Hey, go spend money. Go spend money. Don’t be cheap. Go do this, go do that.’ You know what? Any idiot can go spend money. There are so many idiots out there that spend to the cap every year – take a look at where they are. It all comes down to cost per point. That’s the only stat I care about – cost per point. So, I’d rather spend my money on the development staff, on the scouting staff and develop young players into what they are; as opposed to bringing in people and going way, way over your head in spending because I’ve done that already and it just doesn’t work.”

Melnyk on the Senators being a small market team

“We don’t have the luxuries that other teams do. It’s not a philanthropic thing, it’s you have to try at least to go into a season and say, ‘You know what? We have to support this team.’… Otherwise, you know what happens? Exactly. Everybody keeps forgetting what happened 11 years ago – the team goes bankrupt and it moves. Period. Full stop. And it was going to move until I came in. So unfortunately I take heat for it, I don’t mind taking the bullet, but I have to make sure for the betterment of the city and the fans that we are on solid financial ground and we are, as long as we spend our money wisely.”

Melnyk on how the Senators can compete without being able to spend to the cap

“Everybody wants to work hard. They understand that they have to do that. We have to outsmart everybody. It’s as simple as that. We have to be smarter, better and faster as a management group than anybody out there. If we do that, we will succeed and we’ll put a winning product on the ice and that’s what’s critical for us and time is critical now.”

Melnyk on the team’s attendance problems

“The empty seats that you see now, are first of all, they’re not real expensive seats. Number two, is that our revenues are actually up because we stopped all giveaways and this and freebies and comps and all that kind of things. It’s easy to fill the stadium, but what you’re now seeing is the real number. Those are real paid seats, so that what you’re seeing is what the real fan base is.”

January 31, 2014: Melnyk comments on the organization’s new Bell Media regional broadcasting agreement

“What it does is assure us of a revenue stream and it assures us of a lot of stability within the organization and from a financial perspective. And it allows us really, to play outside of where we have and that is focusing our attention strictly on development and actually, scouting and development.”

Melnyk plays up his team’s prospect pool and depth

“We’ve got huge depth in (Binghamton) – players that should be playing in the NHL now that just can’t get onto the roster because of the talent pool.”

Melnyk on whether the team will eventually be able to add players down the road

“We will be opportunistic when the need arises. We have a HUGE commodity that I didn’t mention that is going to be more and more important in the coming years and that is cap space. This was not something that just came out of nowhere. This was well thought through three years ago – is that we would sit, there would be a point in time, we knew this date was coming, that all these deals were all going to come at the same time and our whole objective was to ensure that we have a young team at the time and that we have cap space. Those were the two things and we did that and we were able to put a great team on the ice and an exciting team on the ice. The plan is working and there’s no need to rush. But if we can be opportunistic, and we will be, there are people who will need to unload some serious players. We ourselves, we have to sign some elite players to contracts, so will it increase? Possibly, maybe even probably, but it’s going to be well thought through before anything like that happens.”

Melnyk on the Senators maximizing a number of their revenue streams

“Now with this deal, with the national deal, with the invasion rights that we’re going to be paid, our (season ticket holder) base has been rebuilt. It’s nowhere near what the big markets have, but we’re getting there slowly, but surely. We do not have the ability to just randomly raise prices. It is a mid-market team. It is a government town, so people do watch how they spend their entertainment dollar. So we have to deliver a product on the ice in every which way and we’ve got to be able to do it prudently. And I think we’ve done that prudently and we’ve turned things around three years ago into a three-year plan and now this is the last year of that plan. We’ve done well so far, even though we were in a complete rebuild.”

Melnyk on whether the Senators need to spend to the cap to win a Stanley Cup

“We don’t believe that we need to spend to the top of the cap. I know some teams do. Some general managers have that latitude, we don’t. Even if we did, we would not be spending (to the cap). There’s just simply no need to. You can organically grow your hockey team, as we have. We have tremendous depth. And usually when you have to spend to the cap, you’re making up for a lack of depth. It’s that simple. We probably have half a dozen guys in Binghamton, our farm team, that should be playing in the NHL right now, tonight. And we simply don’t have room on our roster to put them in because our roster is full. We’ve got great players onboard. You add to that all the prospects that we have in college, the OHL, well not just the OHL but in junior, Europeans and that’s the future currency. And the other thing is, we purposefully planned this out that at this time, we all knew that this date was coming. That all these things would converge at the same time and our plan was to make sure that at this point, you have cap space because that’s going to become a very, very valuable commodity. Cap space. Now, I’ll tell you something, if you think I would have a nightmare if the Canadian dollar drops down there, imagine the teams that are at the cap and all of a sudden the cap comes down. They’re paying you to take their stars. They’re going to be dumping like left and right.”

February 19, 2014: Melnyk reflects on the Senators’ financial situation

“This is not a money machine for me. It’s quite the contrary. At the end of the day, at one point, you sit back and you say, ‘Any guy would have packed it in a long time ago and said get me out of here I’m not going to keep feeding this thing.’

“People like me love the game and want to stay in the game. To stay in the game you need to have some kind of budget. This is what I don’t get: Everybody else on the planet, everybody knows what they make and everybody knows what they spend. It’s called a budget. It’s a very simple word and concept. You can’t just go in and spend to the max.”

Melnyk reflects on how the NHL’s salary cap eventually has to come down

“At some point you could be stuck because the cap has come down. Then, you go, ‘Wait a minute, it’s come down and I’ve got to unload $5 or $10 million worth of salary.’ That day will come. It’s like the stock market. You can’t go straight up all the time. Eventually there’s correction and it rebuilds. You’ve got to leave yourself with some room.”

March 21, 2014: From a Globe and Mail article that describing Eugene Melnyk’s involvement with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and how he urged Canadian action on the situation in Ukraine

It was about a year earlier, when Melnyk went to visit the HUHTC camp in Ukraine, that he and Yushchenko “killed a bottle of vodka” atop a mountain.

April 16, 2014: After missing the playoffs, Melnyk comments on the importance of making the playoffs for this franchise

“The playoffs are very important to us because they not only do you sell tickets for this year as people jump onto the bandwagon as season ticket (holders) but also into the playoffs and into next year. Will it be a tough sell? I don’t know. Right now, things are looking fine. We’re on track and where we want to be. We could always do better, but right now, there is nothing that concerns me in the foreseeable future.”

Melnyk comments on the upside of the Senators’ roster

“It’s still a very young team. Other teams if you look at them, they’ve got much bigger problems than we do.”

Melnyk comments on whether he will increase payroll

“It’s very, very easy to increase payroll. Any idiot can do it and a lot of idiots do and they just… they overspend and they go to the cap and I’ve done it twice and both times it didn’t make an impact. Where we want to spend our money and what you don’t see, forget about the for cap right now, what you don’t see is how much money we spend behind the scenes on the development of our players and what we do down in Binghamton, what we do with our player development internally and that’s where the money is. That’s the best bang for your buck.”

Melnyk comments on how hungry he expects his players to be next season

“Don’t kid yourself because I did some exit interviews, these (players) are not some happy campers.”

Melnyk reflects on Jason Spezza’s year as captain

“I think that Jason (Spezza) understands what his role was and is. He’s a professional. He understands that he could be here today, gone tomorrow and I think everybody in pro sports understands that.”

Melnyk reflects on the size of his hockey ops staff

“Just to clarify the way these things operate, we don’t lose people. We allow them to speak to other teams. Those are our choices. They are under our contracts, so if there are any changes at those levels, those changes are made by us and not at the discretion of the individuals that under contract.”

“I can name you some teams, and we all know who they are, and they spend fortunes on layers and layers of management and my god, I don’t know how they even get things done. Well frankly, they don’t get things done. We are mean and lean and we can make decisions and you have to trust the people that you hire and if you don’t trust them, they’ve got to go.”

April 16, 2014: Melnyk responds to question about an answer that he gave in a previous interview that day in which he admitted that he participated in exit interviews with his players

“Yeah, okay, let’s call it an exit meeting or call it a… next time, why don’t we do this? Next time you see me having a beer with a player, is that going to be an interview? Come on. When I ran a billion dollar company, I would talk to the assistant to the sales coordinator up to the top scientist in the company. This is five, six guys that I bumped into on a day and I said, ‘Come on in and let’s just shoot the breeze and so what do you think happened?’ I didn’t actually sit in on the meetings, that’s a hockey ops thing. That’s what Bryan (Murray) does. That’s what Bryan does with the coaches. He does that with the players. That’s me walking around and bumping into players and I chat with these guys. I’ve had social events with them and I know many of their families and wives and it’s just sitting down and saying, ‘What do you think?’ And these are guys that I trust and have been around for a long, long time and it’s kind of blown out of proportion. But, let me just talk about that for one second cause I heard something about meddling and stuff like that. People, I think, they don’t… I’m not expecting everybody got an ‘A’ in English to understand what the word ‘meddle’ means versus ‘an interest in’. Meddling is, the definition is… I actually looked up the definition just for fun in the Webster’s Dictionary, and I said, ‘What is meddling?’ – to interest oneself in what is not one’s concern; to interfere without right or propriety – that’s in Webster’s. So A) it is my concern; and B) I do have an interest; and C) I have a right and proprietary to interfere if I want to. But at the end of the day, you just want to sit down with these guys and say, ‘Look, what happened? At the beginning of the year, we were golfing together and we talked and I asked you whether we could hit the Cup this year and now, look where we are.’ And they just gave me their honest opinions and nothing more than that. (Laughing)”

Melnyk comments on whether the absence of Daniel Alfredsson affected the players from the outset

“These are professional hockey players, get over it. They’re paid the big bucks. Get over it and that’s the key to any successful elite athlete.”

April 20, 2014: Melnyk comments on what went wrong for the Senators in 2013/14

“Well, I think it’s more than one or two. I think you’ve got to look at it like nine, ten, eleven, twelve or thirteen things went wrong and I’d take up an hour of your time and you’d get bored of me very quickly if I started giving you all of our problems.”

“The one good thing is (the players) are pissed. I hate to use that word on your radio show, but now they’re going to have an attitude. They’re going to have a really bad, bad, bad attitude next year and they’re not going to let this happen again. They do not… this is not a fun time for them.”

Melnyk tries to allay fears that he’s overly involved in the hockey ops decision-making process

“When it comes to player selections and things like that, I’m a great spectator and I like to know things, but I let them make these decisions because at the end of the day, it’s their neck and they’re the ones accountable.”

Melnyk comments on whether the Senators’ roster is in need of an overhaul

“No, (our team) will not be overhauled. There’s no point in overhauling. We’ve got a great, great group. Are you kidding me? People wished they had our team. Yeah, do we need to add a couple of things here and there? Do we need a power forward? Do we need a defensive defenceman? Yes, but that’s tinkering.”

May 17, 2014: Melnyk elects to cheer for the last remaining Canadian franchise in the playoffs – even though the Canadiens are a despised rival of the Senators

As a Canadian – how can you not root for the Habs! Still, should be a great series! Enjoy it!

— Eugene Melnyk (@MelnykEugene) May 17, 2014

May 30, 2014: Melnyk releases statement as the Chairman of the Campaign Advisory Committee for United with Ukraine that appeals to FIFA to strip Russia of their hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup

“To allow Russia to host the World Cup would fundamentally undermine the spirit of international sport and the stated core principles of every corporate sponsor who so far has chosen to align itself with such an irresponsible decision.”

June 7, 2014: Speaking to a Ukrainian news source, Melnyk reflects upon Ukraine’s decision to give up its nuclear arsenal in 1994 and believes it would have deterred Russia

“Nobody would invade it right now. I would know where to point them.”

Melnyk comments on his role as Chairman of the Campaign Advisory Committee for United with Ukraine

“I’m on the other side of the ocean. I’m not living there (in Ukraine), and I can’t pick up a gun and fight.”

August 27, 2014: Refuting rumours that he has brought on a new investor to help ease the team’s financial situation, Melnyk took to Twitter.

October 31, 2014: Melnyk reflects on the Senators’ record to start the season at a press conference to announce Bobby Ryan’s purchase of a suite to be used for children’s charities.

“Everything’s great in Sensland.”

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