Eugene Melnyk

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The Buzzer: Eichel hat trick, Schneider robbery, Gaborik’s 1,000th game

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Players of the Night: 

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres: Eichel ended a four-game goal-less drought with some authority on Friday. After scoring in the first period, Eichel watched as his Sabres blew a 2-1 lead to trail 4-2 with 10 minutes to go. Eichel then turned on overdrive, scoring twice in 10 seconds to tie the game and force overtime. Sadly, his efforts were in vain as the Carolina Hurricanes got the winner 2:15 into the extra frame. It’s Eichel’s first career NHL hat trick.

Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils: What an inspirational story Boyle has been this year. On Friday, Boyle scored twice, including the game winner, to bring his goal total to eight on the season. His second of the night was also his 100th of his career.

Highlights of the Night:

Eichel showed a good bit of patience on his hat trick goal:

Cory Schneider committed robbery on this save:

Sam Gagner scored on a pretty backhand deke to give the Vancouver Canucks the win in overtime, ending a four-game losing streak:

Factoid of the Night: 

MISC: 

Scores: 

Hurricanes 5, Sabres 4 (OT)

Devils 5, Stars 2

Rangers 4, Kings 2

Red Wings 3, Maple Leafs 1

Canucks 4, Sharks 3 (OT)


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Melnyk threatens to move Senators if ‘disaster strikes’

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If you’re looking for someone to spoil an upcoming function, you may want to give Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk a call.

On the eve of the Senators’ outdoor game against the Montreal Canadiens at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, and on the night when Ottawa’s greats from yesteryear took the ice with Parliament Hill as a backdrop, Melnyk did his best to steal the spotlight from the NHL 100 Classic on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Melnyk threatened to pull the plug in Ottawa and relocate the team if disaster struck.

“If it becomes a disaster, yes,” Melnyk said. “If you start not seeing crowds showing up, yes. But, for now, we are on the cusp of doing OK.”

The doom and gloom continued, with Melnyk suggesting he isn’t going to waste a “lifetime of working hard” to support the Senators.

“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “The bigger question is whether I’m prepared to blow all that money I made over many years in a different industry in a different country. How long can you underwrite a team?”

Melnyk reiterated that he’s not looking to sell the team, a statement he made earlier this week in the Ottawa Sun, and used McDonald’s as an example on Friday. 

“It won’t. It just won’t happen,” he said. “It’s a franchise. Imagine if you own a McDonald’s franchise, but you can move it. But why would you sell it? It’s something that’s very difficult to buy.

We’re doing OK here. Not great, but we’re doing OK. It’s just too much fun. What else do you do? I’m a Canadian. I’m a hockey fan, fanatically a hockey fan, and I couldn’t think of anything better to do.”

Melnyk said the Senators have “cut everything to the bone,” saying the Senators have one of the thinnest management groups in the league.

“We want to keep and maintain great players,” he said. “You can’t keep spending at the top end and getting the lowest revenues. It doesn’t work.”

According to CapFriendly, the Senators are at just over $73 million in projected cap space.

Melnyk called the Senators disaster on the ice this season a “crappy streak” that every team goes through.

“We have way too much talent with this team not to perform,” he said.

When asked if his comments on Friday could take away from the luster of the event taking place in Canada’s capital this weekend, Melnyk said no.

“It keeps the newspapers selling and the radio people listening,” he said.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Report: Sens’ Murray to retire after next season

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According to the CBC, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray plans to retire after next season.

Murray, who is battling Stage 4 colon cancer, is currently in the middle of preparing for next month’s NHL Draft.

“I’m not as energized as I once was, but age has a little to do with that as well as the sickness,” said Murray.

The 72-year-old has one more year remaining on his contract. He expects to shift to an advisor role following the 2015-16 season.

“[I like the idea] of sharing some knowledge to the young people that will eventually take over here and help as much as I can rebuild this hockey team to a contending hockey team,” Murray said.

Murray will be responsible for finding his replacement.

“All Eugene (Melnyk) said to me was, ‘you’re going to pick the next guy, Bryan. Work with me on it, but you come up with when you’re going to transfer it over’,” said Murray said in January.

Murray has been the club’s general manager since June 2007.

Related: Sens’ Murray hopes to bring cancer awareness

Sens have discussed front office options for Alfredsson

On Thursday the Ottawa Senators gave Daniel Alfredsson a key to the city.

Does the key open the door to a front office job for Alfredsson?

“He wanted a year or so away and I think that’s important for him, but it’s certainly something Eugene [Melnyk] and I have discussed if [Alfredsson] wants to do it,” GM Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Sun.

Ideally, the 42-year-old would take a position similar to Steve Yzerman in Detroit. Yzerman was the Red Wings vice president and alternate governor prior to joining the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“Maybe that would be the way to start if you go that route,” said Alfredsson. “I’m not naive enough to think I can step into those positions full-time right away. Can I help out in those areas? Of course I can with my experience.

“I think that would be the way to go for both parties. Going forward, that might be better what I’m suited for. If I go that route, that’s probably the way to go.”

According to the Sun, Alfredsson plans on making a decision on his future in the game this summer. For the time being he’s enjoying coaching his sons’ hockey team in Detroit.

“If I’m going to do something in a full-time job I want to do it 100 percent,” he said. “I don’t know if right now is the right time with the stage the kids are at. That’s the way I feel.”

Sens’ GM Bryan Murray will make a decision on his future after this season

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Bryan Murray plans to make a decision on his future in the business following this season.

The Senators general manager is battling Stage 4 colon cancer and going for regular chemotherapy treatments while maintaining his position in Ottawa’s front office.

“I think I’ve got to take a look at it at the end of this year,” Murray told the Ottawa Citizen. “My wife would like me to take off. Geri’s been good, though. She says, ‘I know you have to have something to do.’

“I don’t know whether I can just put my feet up.”

Murray took over as Senators head coach in 2004 leading the club to a Stanley Cup final appearance in 2007.

“What am I going to do?” Murray said. “Play through the year. Wait and see. I have to have a talk with Eugene. He has something to say here, too.

“Maybe it’s time to move on. That’s OK, too.”

When the 72-year-old does step aside, he’ll appoint a successor.

“All Eugene (Melnyk) said to me was, ‘you’re going to pick the next guy, Bryan. Work with me on it, but you come up with when you’re going to transfer it over’,” said Murray.

Once he hands over his GM duties, Murray would like to remain a part of the organization in an advisor role.

“I’m very interested in what happens here, I’m real proud of this group and the people we have,” Murray said. “I wish we were higher up (in the standings) but I see a young team that’s going to be pretty good. So I have real interest in doing the right thing for them.”