Eugene Melnyk has Everything Under Control

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

by Bonk's Mullet


Eugene Melnyk made his year-end media rounds on Tuesday to extinguish the flames of the bush fire that was the 2013-2014 Ottawa Senators season. Melnyk was kind enough to temper the flames with a tank of gasoline. You wanted honey? Melnyk took a baseball bat to a beehive. That's the kind of selfless leadership our owner provides.

Many of you know that I'm currently a PhD student in linguistics. Recently, I've spent a great deal of time studying the rare language known as "Melnykese." There's only one remaining speaker in the world and he happens to be the owner of your Ottawa Senators. Melnykese is a peculiar language, in that speakers tend to say words that mean the exact opposite of what exists in reality. This can be highly confusing to English speakers as the language looks and sounds exactly like English.

Lucky for all of you, I've taken the liberty of translating key excerpts from Melnyk's interviews yesterday. Eugene Melnyk began the day with a telephone conference call with local media, presumably because the fax lines were jammed. He then called in to TSN 1200 and the FAN 590 before doing a Twitter Q&A. I've broken down his answers into convenient categories.

Good morning, good morning, to you.

Menlykese: "Good morning, everyone. I will begin by being blunt and truthful."
English translation: I hope you didn't eat breakfast because I'm about to serve you up a big plate of bullsh...opping network. (This is a family blog)

Melnykese: "It's tough to wake up in the mornings and not have Senators games to look forward to."
English translation: That "Good morning! Good morning!" Viagra commercial, starring Sens fans post-elimination.

"We actually did better" at selling tickets

Melnykese: "The difference this year was on a number of different levels we actually did better, simply because we stopped doing what they call 'painting the place.' That's where you do all sorts of deals to put people in the seats and it's actually an illusion because it looks like you're full but you aren't actually full from a revenue perspective. This year we took a different approach and said, 'this is where we are, this is what we have.' As far as seats are concerned, yes, we're down a little bit as far as seat sales are concerned."
English translation: In addition to a new mega TV deal with TSN, as well as new arena sponsorship from Canadian Tire Centre, we also made more money on ticket sales than we did last year.

This must mean the team can spend to the cap now!

"We tried spending the cap and it didn't work"

Melnykese: "It's very, very easy to increase payroll. Any idiot can do it and a lot of idiots do and they overspend. They go to the cap, I've done it twice and both times it didn't make an impact."
English translation: Why would Boston, LA, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit's GM's overspend on their cup rings when they could have bought plastic ones from the vending machine for only $1!?

Melnykese: "To overpay for a player, just go through the graveyard of all these players who have been paid and have gotten seven year contracts at $7 million apiece and everyone thinks they're geniuses and they turn out to not meet expectations. Then you come across someone who's a $2 million or $3 million player and they're a better player than that $7 million player on another team."
English translation: It's clear the only two options are either overspending or not spending at all, which is why other GM's are regretting their $7+ million dollars busts like NHL leading scorers Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Cory Perry, Phil Kessel, and Alex Ovechkin.

Melnykese: "It gives us more room to do what we need to do but you don't just spend money because you have money in your pocket, that's nonsense."
English translation: I'd love for the fans to ignore the fact that in the last three full NHL seasons, teams who have spent within $5 million of the cap are almost twice as likely to make the playoffs (70% chance) as those who don't spend within $5 million of the cap (37%).

Okay, so the team's not going to spend.

"We will never not spend"

Melnykese: "We will never...not spend. We brought in Ales Hemsky at the end of the season."
English translation: How could you say we didn't spend when we made Edmonton retain half of pending UFA Ales Hemsky's remaining salary and dumped Conacher and Corvo in order to offset the acquired salary? You might also cite my previous statements about an unwillingness to spend but that would make you finicky.

So where is Eugene going to spend his money?

Management... "that's where the money is"

Melnykese: "Where we want to spend our money and what you don't see is how much money we spend behind the scenes on the development of our players, what we do down in Binghamton, what we do with our player development internally. That's where the money is and that's the best bang for your buck."
English translation: We don't need to spend on players when we spend fortunes on management.

Teams that spend fortunes on management "don't get things done"

Melnykese: "Again, you don't see a lot of these people, the number of scouts. I could name you some teams and we all know who they are that spend fortunes on layers and layers of management. They, frankly, don't get things done. We are mean and lean and make decisions. You have to trust the people you hire. If you don't trust them, they've got to go. Right now I think we're in a great spot and, if we do make changes at any type of level there, please keep in mind that's not anybody leaving, that's us making the decision for them to leave."
English translation: We're not worried about losing members of the management group to Tim Murray and the Sabres because it's better not to spend a lot of money there.

Melnykese: "...just to clarify how things operate, we don't lose people, we allow them to speak to other teams. Those are our choices, they're under our contracts."
English translation: We don't lose people. They ask to leave. It's so simple. How are you not getting this?

So despite an increase in revenues, we're not spending more on players, and we're spending less on management. But remember, Eugene is dedicated on bringing a cup to Ottawa. Maybe he's buying a new cup?

"Who knows" if Alfie's departure hurt the team

On the impact of Alfredsson's departure:
Melnykese: Any time you have a change of that magnitude it's going to impact your team. Whether or not it would have made a difference this year or not, who knows? We'll never know. The best answer would be complete speculation.
English translation: We can't know if the loss of Alfie impacted the team.

The team was missing leadership

Melnykese: ...we just need to show up more often. I think we need leadership, I think we need accountability from top to bottom. That's more of a mindset. It could also reflect the maturity of the team.
English translation: What the team is missing is a mature player known for his leadership ability... maybe even someone who's won awards for his leadership. Someone who holds himself accountable for the team losing. Someone who always speaks his mind.

Missing "Two foot putts"

Melnykese: "The biggest one was we'd go in and beat up on the best teams in the league and then come back and miss what I call the two foot putts. The Edmontons, the Calgarys after that Vancouver game, you lose out there. That I think was a huge disappointment. Losing to the Islanders. What's that all about?"
English translation: Those 50 footers were a total walk in the park for us. Against playoff teams we dominated with a record of 18-21-7. It was those easy games against non-playoff teams where we choked and only went 19-10-7.

It's not "Meddling"

Melnykese: In the phone conference, Melnyk said he took part in exit interviews. Later on TSN 1200, Melnyk responded to claims that the fans didn't like his "meddling" in the hockey side of the team. Melnyk cited the dictionary definition of meddling: "to interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one's concern." Melnyk claimed he owns the team, and therefore the team's performance is always of his concern.
English translation: It's not that I was meddling, it's that I was doing something else you might perceive to be detrimental to the team and you didn't pinpoint it with the correct verb.

Accountability

Melnyk demands accountability, and he provides it. Melnyk responded to a fair range of hard-hitting questions from some of his most critical fans on Twitter.

Conclusion

There you have it, clear as day. There's nothing to worry about! We're making more money now, we're not overspending on silly things like players or management, we've got a good grasp on what went wrong with the team this year, and there's no issue whatsoever with Melnyk taking a role in personnel decisions because he owns the team. 

If you're still worried, Melnyk will be sure to answer all of your concerns on Twitter. Just make sure you voice your concern in the form of "I will support the Senators no matter what you do or say, Eugene!"