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Attendance Woes, Bill Daly, and a “Smart” Hire?

It’s the Monday Edition of Links, News, and Notes!

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: AUG 14 Maryland Eastern Shore at Carleton Photo by Sean Burges/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Usually if the Ottawa Senators are in the news for off-ice reasons, it’s not a good thing. Sometimes however, as a great movie once said, even a blind pig finds a truffle. There was a bit of both, this week, so let’s dive right in:

Needless to say, there is some definite cause for concern here. While I don’t think the team is in any danger of relocating, there’s been a direct correlation to the “Rise of Melnyk” and the drop in fan attendance. The team has resorted to practically giving tickets away, much to the chagrin of season ticket holders.

  • Despite the clear divide between management and fans, it appears that Eugene Melnyk still has the support of the National Hockey League.

If Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly’s comments are to be taken at face value, it would mean that there is no pressure on Melnyk. However, I don’t think that’s the case. I think Gary Bettman and Co. have had about enough of the owner’s antics, and are just doing everything they can to prevent him from driving the team’s value down. The defence of Melnyk was, perhaps, a bit gratuitous, but hopefully it’s all to facilitate a sale.

  • Finally, it was announced during the Tampa game that the Senators have hired Dave Smart to a consultant position with the organization. The winningest coach in Canadian university basketball history, the former Carleton Ravens bench boss has had at least a friendly relationship with the Sens for some time. For those unfamiliar with Smart, Ian Mendes penned a great piece that details DJ Smith’s rationale:

Though the divide between basketball and hockey is huge, this has the potential to be a great hire for the Sens. For an organization that is still stuck with the reputation of being behind the times, this is an uncharacteristically analytic move. With Smart’s ability to reach young athletes, this seems like it could be a match made in heaven: