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“Any idiot” can spend to the cap, says Sens owner

Mar 23, 2012, 6:09 PM EDT

Eugene Melnyk Getty Images

Yesterday Senators owner Eugene Melnyk told the Ottawa Citizen he expected the club to break even, if not turn a profit, for the first time in a long time.

The key to the club’s financial turnaround was two-fold.

First, it cut salary.

Second, it won anyway.

Sort of like the Calgary Flames, except totally the opposite.

As it stands, the Senators are poised to make the playoffs with one of the lowest payrolls in the NHL.

“You can spend to the cap — it’s very easy. Any idiot can do that,” he said.

Melnyk would know. The Senators were essentially a cap team in 2009-10 when they lost in the first round, and payroll was similar last season when they missed the playoffs.

“The really elite teams are the ones that can (put in) elite management and elite coaching, that can put a competitive team on the ice year-after-year, and not have to buy that team,” he said.

However, the Sens aren’t an elite team yet, argues the Citizen’s Wayne Scanlan.

Ask yourself this question. Which team would you feel more comfortable chasing Stanley with this spring – the $64-million Pittsburgh Penguins, the $64-million Vancouver Canucks or the $51-million Senators?

Hey, the Senators could surprise some people — again — and do a bit of playoff damage. If they do, good luck wiping the smile off Melnyk’s face all summer long.

Realistically, it’s unspeakably tough to play giant-slayer four rounds in a row.

Scanlan references the “Moneyball” Oakland A’s who made the MLB playoffs with a rock-bottom payroll but never really threatened to win the World Series.

So, will Melnyk open his wallet when the time is right to put Ottawa over the top? Will he make the financial commitment to keep homegrown talent when free agency looms? Those are the questions Sens fans could be asking soon. Because you can cut salary — it’s very easy. Any idiot can do that.

  1. tcclark - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    sure spending to the cap is easy, but spending to the cap and WINNING is a little more difficult. Just ask Buffalo. Making changes to a team that spends to the cap is even more difficult, just ask Philadelphia. Year in and year out they are players in free agency, just trying to get better. How they do it I still don’t quite understand. Paul Holmgren traded away arguably the teams two best players for young players so he could sign a goalie (who struggled for the majority of the season) to a humongous big contract. Then they lost out on Leino and signed a 39 year olf who hadn’t played in the NHL for years and they still have the third most points in the east. You can tell me that any idiot could pull that off

  2. tcclark - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    sure spending to the cap is easy, but spending to the cap and WINNING is a little more difficult. Just ask Buffalo. Making changes to a team that spends to the cap is even more difficult, just ask Philadelphia. Year in and year out they are players in free agency, just trying to get better. How they do it I still don’t quite understand. Paul Holmgren traded away arguably the teams two best players for young players so he could sign a goalie (who struggled for the majority of the season) to a humongous big contract. Then they lost out on Leino and signed a 39 year olf who hadn’t played in the NHL for years and they still have the third most points in the east. You cant tell me that any idiot could pull that off

  3. jagrbomb18 - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Amazing post clark

  4. habsman - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    “Any idiot” can spend to the cap, says Sens owner.

    And Brian Burke is a prime example.

  5. imleftcoast - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Melnyk brilliant Moneyball owner, but not so smart that he can manage to comply with securities laws:

    On May 2011, the Ontario Securities Commission in Canada banned Eugene Melnyk from senior roles at public companies in Canada, for five years and penalized him to pay $565,000. Earlier in the same year Melnyk had settled with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), agreeing to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 US and he had previously paid $1 million U.S. to settle other claims with the SEC.

  6. drewsylvania - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    He’s right. Look at the Habs. They’ve been spending piles of money on mediocrity.

    • danphipps01 - Mar 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      I’d make mention of the Jackets, but at this point it’s not even beating a dead horse anymore. It’s beating the scraps of decaying horse matter scattered where it used to lay.

      Poor, poor Jackets fans…

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