If you’re still listening, Ottawa Senators fans, your owner has a message for you.
Eugene Melnyk wants you to know that things are going to change, that the future looks better than the grim picture Melnyk is responsible for painting.
Senators fans will remember that just a few months ago, it was the same Melnyk writing fans on Thursday that threatened to move the team if disaster struck.
This season for Ottawa has been nothing short of a disaster, but Melnyk was singing a different tune in a letter sent out to season ticket holders and fans on Thursday.
“When I came on board, the Ottawa Senators were in deep financial trouble,” Melnyk wrote. “Together, with your support, we brought this team back to life and we have had Canada’s most successful NHL on-ice performance over the past 15 years. Backed by Ottawa fans and the entire community, I have demonstrated my commitment to giving you the best possible team over and over again. Today, I am just as committed to the Ottawa Senators and to keeping them in the City of Ottawa, as I was in 2003.”
The letter is a lot of what you’d expect from an owner of a struggling team trying to make sure season ticket renewals go as smoothly as possible for a team stuck in 29th place in the NHL, just months removed from being a goal away from the Stanley Cup Finals.
Melnyk reminded fans that the team wasn’t far away from competing for hockey’s holy grail. He went into roster changes at the trade deadline, plans to improve the fan experience and getting the Senators back to winning ways.
“This has been a disappointing season for our team,” Melnyk said in the letter. “Our place in the standings speaks for itself. Trust me, no one is more aware of this — and more frustrated by it — than I am.”
Let’s remember, however, that Senators fans are willing to not only shell out their hard-earned money to watch the atrocity play out on the ice, they’re also willing to spend thousands to erect a billboard showing their immense frustration for Melnyk.
The letter’s biggest omission, however, is the lack of Erik Karlsson‘s name.
The team’s best player, one of the league’s top defenseman, and a player that’s been so horribly mismanaged by the club, to the horror of its fans, is nowhere to be found in Melnyk’s thoughts to his fans.
The little hope that Senators fans have left remaining is planted in Karlsson’s future. Melnyk failing to commit to repairing that relationship and trying to re-sign a player that is nothing short of a generational talent makes everything else seem superficial.
Time will tell if Melnyk can restore the Senators from being the league’s laughingstock.
But it’s hard not to imagine that fans wouldn’t have rather read a letter from Melnyk that apologized for the shambles it’s currently in; a letter that told the truth to fans, that he has failed the organization, its players, and its dedicated fanbase.
Ottawa deserves that, at the very least.