SBD/Issue 161/Franchises

Senators Will Lose Money, But Melnyk Says Things Looking Up

Senators Owner Expects Team To Be
Very Competitive For Years To Come

Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk said the team will "lose money this year ... no question about that" after losing to the Penguins and failing to advance to the second round of the NHL Playoffs, according to Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA SUN. Melnyk, participating in a series of post-season interviews, said, "It’s important for us, with the amount of money we’re spending and with the size of our marketplace, to go two rounds. We can’t move up the (ticket) prices and we haven’t." He did say it was a benefit to play three home postseason games. Melnyk: "It’s very important for also following up on our season-ticket base. That’s extremely important. That’s coming back because it’s our job to show people that we care about the team and we are going to make whatever moves we need to make to put on a winning team." Melnyk said the Senators have a "good pipeline of players coming," and he expects the team "to be very competitive for years to come." Meanwhile, Melnyk said he has confidence in GM Bryan Murray and coach Cory Clouston. Noting the trade of LW Dany Heatley just a couple weeks before the start of the season, Melnyk said, "You look at the hand that Bryan was dealt. ... He did a fantastic job under difficult circumstances that were dealt to him" (, 5/1).

HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Melnyk in a separate interview with the OTTAWA CITIZEN's Ken Warren said that the Senators' business operations are "pointing in the right direction." Attendance at Scotiabank Place this year was "down considerably from previous seasons and the season ticket base was down," but Melnyk said the season-ticket base is "very, very much driven, of course, by what happens on the ice." Melnyk noted the Senators had a "record year" for ticket sales in '07-08 following the team's Stanley Cup Final appearance. Melnyk: "The (sales) guys and girls just had to pick up the phone and they were selling tickets. This year, we were coming off a year where we were not even in the playoffs and people were scratching their heads and then you had the whole Heatley affair, which did have a very significant impact on our ticket base." He added, "People in Ottawa are driven by having a winning team and that’s something I’ve learned over years of ownership. They want to see a winner. It’s a Catch-22, because on one hand, you need the season ticket base to be able to spend to the (salary cap), you need to spend to the cap to be able to put out a competitive team." Meanwhile, Melnyk said the club would "never, ever" sign a player solely because he has a marquee name. Melnyk: "That doesn't matter, just having a name if they're not playing. It's certainly not going to sell tickets. And that's not the business we're in. We're in the business of winning" (, 5/1).

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