A very controversial report in the Ottawa Sun today has caused a great deal of controversy.
As many of our readers will know, the Ottawa Senators have been the target of criticism this postseason due to what was has been reported to be low attendance at time during their playoff run. While there could be a number of factors behind this including arena location, ticket prices being increased, and parking prices being increase, Don Brennan lays the blame squarely on Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
It must be Eugene Melnyk.
The only logical explanation for fans negatively stealing so much of the spotlight from the Senators unexpectedly wondrous ride through the playoffs has to be a growing, general contempt for the team’s owner, for one reason or another.
This would never be the case in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto or Montreal. Almost with certainty the same could be said for every U.S.-based team.
No, this is an Ottawa thing. But it also must be a Melnyk thing.
Unsurprisingly the Senators owner was not pleased by Brennan's report, but in a very surprising move he quickly published a response. From the Ottawa Citizen:
It was hugely disappointing to see that Don Brennan, a veteran member of our Ottawa sports media establishment, has chosen to single me out as the root cause for empty seats during our spectacular playoff run.
This has been too good a moment for our team, our city and our fans. I won’t ruin it for them, nor our organization, by trying to counter the bully claims this journalist has made.
And similarly, if there are empty seats in our building during these playoffs, it is certainly unfair to point the blame squarely on any one person – especially me.
If someone chooses to put the blame on solely for this reality, well they simply have no clue how hard I work, how passionate I am, and how committed I am to the Ottawa Senators and their success on the ice, off the ice and in our community.
There has been a vocal segment of the Senators fan base that has expressed discontent with Melnyk in the past, although how many fans in Ottawa that actually represents is very difficult to gauge. It will be interesting to see which of these two sides rings truest to the Sens fan base, and furthermore how tonight's result will impact that sentiment.
Image courtesy Sean Kilpatrick- Canadian Press