I am a supporter of the Ottawa Senators and it is hell



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Photo: Julio Cortez (AP)

It's hard to label no matter what the nadir of a franchise that still manages to drop even more, but call the deadline of this week's deal to the limit of a lost decade. After progressing in the ranks of Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, the Ottawa Senators failures are up-to-date. Finish our top three scorers, who have generated nearly half of the Senators points this year. Last year's top five scorers are gone, including Erik Karlsson, the beloved captain who dared to ask for his market value after coaching the Senators in the final round of the Stanley Cup finals. 2017.

2017! Just two years ago! We now have a handful of talented but green teens whose development is hanging on the heels of a fragile group of veterans and 37-year-old goalie Craig Anderson. The team was sitting in the basement of the league with Stone, Duchene and Dzingel. Now, this place becomes more comfortable as the Senators go through the next chapter of their owner's reign of terror, Eugene Melnyk. All this without their choice of first round, abandoned to acquire Duchene latest season. Yes, the Senators gave their Jack Hughes lottery ticket for a one – year lease.

The deadline for exchanges was a dark day for the fans, but apparently not for the general manager Pierre Dorion. "This is probably one of the proudest days of my life as NHL General Manager," he said just hours after trading Stone. In a really weird interview that, I guess, was aimed at assuring fans that two plus two actually equals five, Dorion tried to turn the generational talents into perverse ten years of mismanagement, as something that does not happen. is never produced. The horde of furious fans? I've never seen. "When you talk about disconnection, I do not see it … In the last 12 months, someone shouted at me, so I do not see the lag." Ah. Only one person.

Rebuilt the stench. But reconstructions are necessary. The fans here know it and have accepted it in the past, when we had problems with growth and reconstruction in 2011. But there is something much more sinister, cynical and hopeless about this dismantling and the bursting of the direction. This goes beyond a mere incompetence or a couple of bad dice throws. The Melnyk Horrorshow is a quagmire of years in the making. Here is how messy things are in Canada's capital.


Eugene Melnyk is the keystone of the misfortunes of senators. To scrutinize Melnyk's mind, look no further. Or watch this scary interview (Melnyk's idea, apparently) with defender Mark Borowiecki, where Melnyk assured people that the situation was perfect, very normal and certainly not dysfunctional. When the CEO of the pharmaceutical industry bought a nearly bankrupt Sense club in 2003, the fans were ecstatic. But soon after the purchase of Melnyk, the value of Biovail exploded, which forced him to finance the team with loans. To repay these loans, he has since contracted more loans, the last credit coming from a "syndicate of financial institutions".

When TSN's Brent Wallace questioned Melnyk about claims that he would not have paid staff bonuses, Melnyk reportedly told Wallace: "I'm going to bury you" and banished him from the charter flight of l & # 39; team. When TSN's Travis Yost, who was writing for Hockey Buzz, began to uncover Melnyk's unstable finances, his blog accounts were mysteriously hacked by a Ukrainian IP address. When the Ottawa Citizen Criticized Melnyk, an army of robots has popped up to announce support for our Glorious owner and shame a local newspaper. (Full disclosure, I worked briefly at Citizen as a trainee in news.)

Melnyk is a tyrant of the Trumpian kind, a little more annoying and poor in money. In December 2017, Melnyk was touted to have "implemented everything", then a few minutes later, he complained of assistance, while the ice product was One of the worst since our year of expansion in 1993. He missed so much of an interview at the NHL100 Classic, an otherwise joyful and festive event, Gary Bettman had to rush to limit the damage. This debacle sparked a revolt in the fan base, including a crowdfunding campaign to install "Melnyk Out" billboards in the city.

The first major evidence for the fans that things were going wrong in our picturesque capital was the impossibility for the team to sign Daniel Alfredsson again in 2013. Alfie is the most famous player on the team; He is the first player on the modern team to have his jersey taken off and holds the Senators record for goals, assists and points. Resident in Ottawa even after the end of his career, he has also raised countless funds for charitable purposes. Alfie belongs to the kingship of Ottawa, but it is a difficult undertaking and he left for Detroit. It happens. However, the Euge missed Alfie a second time, having held a front-office position. The circumstances of Alfie's second departure are not known precisely, but Alfredsson said, "We hope to have a new owner." (He then tried to pretend that his comments were confidential.)

Melnyk recently proclaimed that he would spend up to the ceiling … in 2021. A team that can spend up to the salary cap does not need to reassure people that they will spend up to the ceiling. They go do it when the chances of success come, what should this team have done when we had Erik-freakin-Karlsson and Mark-freakin-Stone.

Eugene Melnyk is the Prince Clown of the NHL. An owner who mortifies regularly this team, this league and this city. He is his worst enemy, he has stumbled in disasters that he has caused and, unable to let go of the team or to give himself the means to make it succeed, has allowed these disasters to become even more uncontrollable. And for reporting his incompetence, he blames the media why nobody appreciates more and more of the direction of Sens.


In addition to spending money in 2021, Melnyk finally listened to her public relations and spent most of her time away from the cameras. Enter Pierre Dorion. Melnyk's trusted guide was an amateur scout of this organization who helped write the key elements of the 2011 reconstruction. Karlsson, Stone, Dzingel, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman and Robin Lehner all have their fingerprints for writing. It is a brutal irony that Dorion's legacy is tainted in this city as a man who has dumped these players for a series of mostly smaller pieces. Erik Brannstrom and Colin White, the most tangible fruit of these trades, may sound great, but they also promise to replace things that are safe. knew we could build around.

Eugene Melnyk and Pierre Dorion at the 2018 draft, discussing the talented young prospect they would like to negotiate at a discount in 2025, when it becomes too expensive.
Photo: Bruce Bennett (Getty)

Why did the last rebuild fail? A series of 180 degrees pivots in the direction at the slightest sign of success or failure. The Senses did a little better than expected in 2012, so they engaged in deals to stay marginally competitive – enough to be casual in the playoffs without spending enough for real quarrels. Since 2008, the Senators have more or less alternated the missing and the playoffs. Although these mediocre limbo may be preferable to the decade spent in the desert than a franchise like Carolina has suffered, it has also prevented the Senators from building something sustainable.

Bobby Ryan's albatross contract was signed in 2014 to appease fans who cried Alfie. Meanwhile, Alex Kovalev, Ales Hemsky, Pascal Leclaire, Cory Conacher, Ben Bishop, David Legwand, Sergei Gonchar and others were robbed during the decade. And remember to have exchanged the captain and center of the stars Jason Spezza? The pieces we have recovered are completely evaporated, with the exception of Nick Paul, whose presence in the big club is limited. None of these tape deals were made for the Senators, who still pay Ryan a hefty $ 7.25 million to play in the back row. The then general manager, Bryan Murray, did some magic with the limited resources available to keep his team semi-competitive so that Melnyk could buy tickets for playoff playoffs.

In 2015, when Murray retired, Dorion took the reins and went all-in. This culminated in a final appearance at the conference and then in the basement the following season. Rather than bouncing back, things have gotten worse this year. The stars have disappeared, leaving the management with the pants hanging on their knees, desperately trying to sell us for a reenactment with money that will appear from nowhere claiming that the lost decade has never happened .

There are great prospects and plenty of draft picks thanks to this week's fire. But Dorion offers us these choices and perspectives is as if your roommate was preparing a batch of homemade cookies after vomiting in your living room the night before. Thank you for the macaroons, Pierre. But you vomited on the old coffee table and the carpet inheritance of my mother. And you smile through the stench of alcohol, McDonald's and regurgitated stomach acid. Turning perspectives and choices on us as brilliant keys for a toddler does not meet the rotten failure of the past decade. They claim that the fourth airliner, Zack Smith, is a key veteran of this reconstruction after trying to abandon it at the beginning of the season (there was no taker). Management tells us to trust them for rebuilding when they have done nothing to show that we should trust them with a pet.

Since 2007, Ottawa has been a kryptonite coach, scouring eight bench leaders without success. MondayDorion presented an apology / vote of confidence to head coach Guy Boucher, saying, "I've probably made his job tough in the last few weeks and we'll support him." Thursday, Dorion announced his decision The future would be in the off-season – Friday, the Senators sacked Boucher.

We are told to believe in a planned rebuild when Mr. O. of this organization was lying and doing anything but sticking to a plan. Aside from the trade for Duchene, the trade for Kyle Turris (manufactured by Murray) and perhaps the trade for Derick Brassard (which was partly aimed at reducing costs), the momentum of every major move in this franchise has been to Defeat fires and compensate for previous mistakes – errors mainly motivated by short-term financial benefits. No matter who played for the Senators, no matter who coached this team, nothing was good. So who was at the helm of all this? And now, we are told to trust an organization where everyone – the players, the executives, the fans – has disappeared, except for the owner and management who put us in trouble.


It's bigger than the sport. Melnyk also postponed one of the largest proposed construction projects in Ottawa's history. For more than 50 years, the City of Ottawa has been sitting on LeBreton Flats, an unused stretch of land just a stone's throw from the downtown core. The proposal to build a state-of-the-art arena at LeBreton from Senators Sens and Trinity Development Group was canceled on Wednesday, as the partnership between Melnyk and Trinity was ruled irreconcilable one day before the expiry of the already extended deadline for reaching a settlement. agreement. . And everyone involved pointed to Melnyk for the case to turn to kaput. This multi-billion dollar project could have contributed greatly to the revitalization of the downtown core. Unlike the Canadian Tire Center, which is located near boonies, next to some parking lots surrounded by land. And it will take years to get closer to another development agreement.

The Senators organization is an important economic driver for this city, but it also plays a key role in Ottawa's identity. The Sens are a small merchant team stuck between two giants – the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens – and Ottawa is a smaller city geographically wedged between the two cultural capitals of our country: Toronto and Montreal. (Sorry, Vancouver and Calgary, you're both great.) This city and the Senators are outsiders, and the people here have real relationships with this team and are interested in it. But we are given more and more reasons to give up each day.


Nick Dunne is a freelance writer from Ottawa who is currently in the sport. It is also done with all this.

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