Originally posted on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 8/11/13
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Daniel Alfredsson is going to have his say and explain his decision to leave Ottawa and the only ones who stand to benefit from it are those in the media whose employers could desperately use whatever summer hockey content they can get their hands on. Confirming to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch that he will make himself available at some point this week, we now could be exposed to the manufactured buildup of an availability session that isn’t even necessary. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of questions that fans would like to have answered, but does anyone actually believe that whatever answers Alfie provides will curb the interest or speculation about the events that led to his departure? It’d be pretty naïve to believe that Alfie is suddenly going to change his stance and come off his previous position – that he signed with Detroit because he believed they were more of a Cup contender -- put forth during his introductory press conference with Detroit. The sports journalists in this town will most certainly try to pry more information out of him, but he’s done too much in his career on and off the ice to expose the Sens organization and put them in an unfavorable light. Moreover, there’s inevitably going to be a sect of the fan base that will disregard anything Alfie says as spin and instead, will continue to believe that there’s more to the story than Alfie’s pursuit of a championship. Whatever actually happens or is said, it doesn’t change the fact that Alfie has moved on and others have too. But that doesn’t mean the curiosity into how finances potentially affected his decision will stop. And that’s ultimately why Alfie’s decision was so important. Eugene Melnyk recently admitted to the Ottawa Citizen that the Senators could not have added Bobby Ryan had they decided to move forward with Alfie. “To come up with the kind of money they were talking about and being fiscally responsible and ensuring the ongoing success of the organization, we knew we needed to add a Bobby Ryan-type player,” Melnyk explained. “And at the end, when I said blank cheque, that would have meant we would not have gotten the (Bobby Ryan-type player). Couldn’t afford it. Just couldn’t do it.” This isn’t about the player, the organization or its fans having to move on. From a hockey perspective, letting Alfie go to pursue a better player in Ryan is completely defensible and on some level, it’s encouraging to see management make a difficult and potentially unpopular decision. At times in the past, it wasn’t always like this. Good PR was always part of the But ultimately, this Alfie decision is important because it will make fans more critically aware of the internal budget and the limitations it has. In that Citizen feature, Melnyk expressed his level of comfort with the way that things turned out. “I’m definitely OK with the way things happened. You can’t turn back the clock. Look, we play as a team, and no one single player supersedes the betterment of the whole team.” But if this organization struggles to retain its current talent or cannot supplement its roster to give the players their best chance to contend moving forward, the fans are eventually going to feel cheated if the organization doesn’t reinvest money into the payroll. Hell, it’s already annoying enough to repeatedly listen to or read the conflicting statements between Melnyk and management. Melnyk’s Additional Revenue Stream… It has been four years since Dany Heatley left town, but the Ottawa Citizen is reporting that the Senators and Heatley may reach a settlement before the case is ever heard by an arbitrator. The Senators filed a grievance after Heatley requested a trade and refused to waive his NTC to go to the Edmonton Oilers. The struggle for the Sens during this time was creating a market for Heatley that would see them fetch a decent return. Unfortunately for them, the trifecta of Heatley’s NTC, expensive contract, and $4 million bonus that had to be paid to him by July 1st, created a situation in which the Sens essentially had no leverage in trade negotiations. Eventually after exhausting their efforts to find a suitor that Heatley would accept to, they believed they had permission from Heatley’s camp to pursue a deal with the Oilers – with Ladislav Smid, Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano being the anticipated return. Invoking his NTC, Heatley squashed the prospective deal and the Sens eventually facilitated a trade to the San Jose Sharks – the oft-rumoured preferred destination for Heatley. There was some speculation that a possible rift between Melnyk and Heatley’s agent, JP Barry, may have had somewhat of a negative impact on negotiations with Alfie, but it’s good to hear that the involved parties can actually get along and work towards reaching a settlement that will line the Euge’s pockets. Hey, every bit helps!
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