Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Backhander: Notes From A Squeamish Summer In Ottawa

Lots of nail-biting today about the spectre of Daniel Alfredsson leaving town as a free agent, possibly to the big bad Boston Bruins. Fuelled by talk of Eugene Melnyk being broke (I’d love to be that kind of “broke” by the way) and the fact that the contract wasn’t signed within two minutes of Bryan Murray and Alfie meeting face to face, nervous fans are reaching for the tranquilizers just to keep it together in their workplaces while they desperately troll Twitter in search of any news.

I do know that Bryan Murray doesn’t want to be known as the man who let Alfredsson leave town.

After all, Murray plans on living in the area after he retires. How fun would it be to walk into a grocery store and have children hissing at you and check-out ladies refusing to bag your frozen pizzas and back-bacon? Right. It would be intolerable.

So expect Murray to get this deal done before Friday. If it comes down to not being able to fit a 5-6 million contract under budget, start throwing other players overboard. Hell, put coach Dave Cameron back on a bus to Mississauga with a bag of chips and some beef jerky if it means saving a few bucks. Just get it done.

And it will get done.


Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen reported recently  that the Senators are “operating on a self-imposed $50 million salary cap” which fed into recent speculation that Eugene Melnyk and the Senators are having financial issues. I’m not prepared or even really interested in sorting through that quagmire of rumours right now, but a $50 million cap on salaries for this season is not exactly a slash-and-burn scenario.

According to Cap Geek, the Senators spent roughly $53 million last season in salaries, $52 million in the 2012 season and $56 million in 2011. As you can see, the Senators plan to spend just a little less than they have in the recent past and if this team can manage to be a contender heading into the playoffs, it hasn’t been ruled out that they could add some salary. Until Melnyk meets the press and answers a few questions before the start of next season, we won’t really know the implications.

If this is a budget meant to keep the team from tipping over into financial hell, then obviously there’s a big issue here. Every fan bought into Melnyk’s vow to spend whatever he could to help this team win a championship not long ago. If somehow there’s not even enough money to keep this promising team intact (ie. Alfie, Sergei Gonchar), then all hell will break loose in due time. But for now, a $50 million budget isn’t a total doom scenario.

And just remember, no matter what kind of shit hits the fan, Erik Karlsson is signed for the next 6 years. How bad can it really be?

(Cue Kiss burning down the Canadian Tire Centre with pyro later this month....)

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