After what felt to me like too long, the Senators have made the decision to suspend Assistant GM Randy Lee until his court date is over. GM Pierre Dorion released a statement today.
In the statement, Dorion said the things that many were expecting much earlier. He expressed that “harassment in any form is unacceptable”, “Randy [will] be granted the due process to which he is entitled”, and that “we believe the best way to live our values and enforce our standards of behaviour is to suspend Randy Lee until the allegations against him are ruled upon by the courts”.
On this site and in other places, many believed this to be the best course of action by the team. Suspending Randy Lee with pay allows the court process to take place (and for the Sens to possibly do their own internal investigation) without jumping to the conclusion that Lee is innocent and therefore allowing Lee to continue his role interacting with teenage prospects. What’s so interesting about this statement is that it was shared on the Sens’ social media accounts, while the earlier statements were only shared on the website. This suggests that fan reaction on social media may have played a role in the Sens changing their initial stance on Lee. It’s also very likely that new COO Nicolas Ruszkowski, starting his role yesterday, had something to do with this change of action.
Lee’s court date has been delayed, now to July 6th, 2018.
In other news, Monika Caryk has released her own statement about the alleged cyberbullying. Unsurprisingly, she denies the allegations. She claims sympathy for the Karlssons and that she has been attacked via email by Taylor Winnik (wife of Daniel Winnik). She also claims, along with Mike Hoffman, to have reached out to Erik Karlsson to try to solve the problem but with no response until they sat it on social media. The couple have hired a lawyer in the interest of clearing their names. To me, the money quote was “Melinda and I weren’t best friends, but we weren’t enemies. We were civil.” This suggests to me that there were likely some disagreements between the two in the past.
I think Caryk and Hoffman really had no other alternative here. As expressed in the letter, this was affecting Hoffman’s career. It’s hard to know if this can ever be proven, but the initial response from Julie Turris and Marlee Hammond, among others, demonstrates that Caryk was not exactly well-liked among the spouses. It may still be best for the organization to move on from Hoffman, but a letter like this is likely at least an attempt to recoup some trade value for the team.
The offseason circus continues, and it’s only June 15th!