The Ottawa Senators are a steaming-hot pile of malodorous garbage right now.
For the sake of the long-suffering fans and all the good people within the organization forced to put up with nothing short of a disastrous fall from grace over the past 12 months, I truly wish there was a better way to describe the current state of this franchise. But there isn’t.
The most recent stench-ridden saga surrounding the Sens was brought to the forefront on Tuesday when it leaked that Melinda Karlsson, wife of Erik, filed an order of protection against the girlfriend of teammate Mike Hoffman back on May 4, alleging she lead a torturous harassment campaign against the Karlsson family following the death of their newborn son last season.
It seems completely impossible and quite unbelievable, and if this drama involved basically any other franchise in the NHL it would be. But, unfortunately for most of those involved in the Senators tire-fire over the past year, the absurdity is par for the course. From the owner down to the assistant GM and beyond, the franchise has been on a damn heater of ineptitude, and victimized by quite a bit of misfortune, for some time now.
Since the heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2017 Eastern Conference final, it’s been one piece of brutal news after another coming out of the Nation’s Capital.
Losing Game 7.
The Turris’ make noise on their way out.
Season goes to hell.
Erik and Melinda lose Axel.
Blaming the media.
And now Mike Hoffman.
— Brian Fraser (@brianpfraser) June 12, 2018
Here’s some of the lingering garbage contributing to the smouldering dumpster fire that is currently the Ottawa Senators organization:
June 2018 — The Randy Lee Fiasco. It was announced through his attorney Tuesday that assistant general manager Randy Lee is set to miss at least part of next week’s NHL Entry Draft because has to be in court to defend a charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly made sexual comments and rubbed the shoulders of a 19-year-old male shuttle bus driver at the pre-draft scouting combine a couple weeks ago in Buffalo. Lee has pleaded not guilty to second-degree harassment and sees his status within the organization “unchanged” as the upper management “reviews the situation.”
April 2018 — Melnyk’s Desperate Town Halls. After a tumultuous few months in Ottawa, owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Pierre Dorion held several “Town Hall” style meetings with the intent of smoothing over tensions with season ticket holders. After blaming the media for misconstruing his words when he made threats to move the team in December, Melnyk along with Dorion insinuated that long-time Senators captain and Ottawa legend Daniel Alfredsson wanted to leave and go to Detroit in 2013 as a UFA. Naturally, Melnyk was booed into oblivion by almost everyone in attendance as the battle between owner and fans hit a boiling point.
February 2018 — Anselmi Out, Melnyk In. After just over a year at the helm, former MLSE head Tom Anselmi and the Senators “parted ways,” but it’s obvious that Melnyk forced him out as the owner named himself CEO of his own franchise and moved from Barbados to Ottawa just days after the separation. Anselmi was brought in to oversee the arena development project at LeBreton Flats and to help with falling ticket sales. It didn’t work out, to say the least, as the team tarped off 1,500 seats at the Canadian Tire Centre prior to the season, lowering capacity to just over 17,000.
Early 2018 — the Erik Karlsson Thing. Despite being the team’s captain and one of the greatest in franchise history over his nine seasons in the Nation’s Capital, it became clear that Karlsson would not be staying in Ottawa for much longer despite his constant praise and displays of affection for the city. After Melnyk and Co. asked the all-world blueliner for his no-trade list ahead of the deadline, Karlsson did his best to assist in making a deal happen, but one never came to fruition. It’s looking like Karlsson’s name will go down beside Alfredsson and Jason Spezza as Top 5 franchise players who saw their time in Ottawa end in controversial fashion.
December 2017 — Melnyk’s Month Of Horrors. In the worst way possible, this was a big month for the Senators owner. First, he pissed off basically every Sens fan on the planet when, on the eve of the franchise’s first-ever outdoor game on Parliament Hill, the owner made it clear he would consider relocating the team to another city if things didn’t improve. Following the egregious comments, many angry and distraught fans worked together to get #MelnykOut trending for weeks on top social media platforms and later resulted in the construction of #MelnykOut billboards.
But on the bright side — other than this insane cyberbullying debacle, the sexual harassment claims against its Assistant GM, the strange and abrupt departure of the team’s CEO and president, the pending Karlsson trade disaster, the clouds of controversy following Melnyk at seemingly every step, a very uncertain arena situation, one of the worst roster constructions in the NHL and not much to look forward to as far as high-end prospects go — everything is fine.