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More Gambling Issues, More Doughty Thoughts and More Attendance Talks

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Your Thursday links, news and notes

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Senators ended their 3-game road trip with a record of 1-2-0 but many positives came out of the three game stint, especially from the game against the New York Rangers. They come home to face the LA Kings tonight who aren’t having the best of seasons themselves.

Drew Doughty

Speaking of the LA Kings; Drew Doughty seems to be making headlines for himself once again. On Monday, while Doughty was set to face the Toronto Maple Leafs he decided it was a good idea to weigh in on their performance so far:

“I hope they’re going to learn, but it’s up to them how they want to do it. If they want to play for themselves or if they want to win a Stanley Cup they have to play differently.”

For starters, why is everyone being asked to give an opinion on the Maple Leafs? Why does everyone feel compelled to give the advice? Doughty doesn’t play for the Leafs, he doesn’t even play in the same conference. So why does his opinion matter, especially with the season the Kings are having? I understand that this is mainly the media trying to rile up drama before a game but after losing 3-1 to the Maple Leafs, I think Doughty and his teammates probably wished he kept quiet on the whole business. Interesting enough, Drew Doughty is thinking of keeping quiet in the future as he feels he’s been victimized by the media twisting his words, I’m sure that’ll last no more than a week. I wonder what he thinks about Eugene Melnyk.

A $500,000 Gambling Problem

Speaking of Eugene Melnyk, you all thought the gambling piece was going to be about him. Surprisingly, he hasn’t made any more embarrassing headlines but somehow Evander Kane has managed to get himself in trouble with a Las Vegas casino. The Cosmopolitan is suing Kane for $500,000 for failing to pay back gambling markers that were extended to him while they were playing the Las Vegas Golden Knights last April. They’re also seeking repayment of legal fees should the case be proven in court. I wonder if Kane was too distracted in the casino to bother showing up to Games 3 and 4 of that series considering how the Golden Knights took over the series at that point. Evander Kane has been known to get himself into trouble, from waving around blocks of money to dismissed harassment cases, trouble seems to always follow him around. It will be interesting to see if the Sharks or the NHL will comment or act on these allegations. Maybe they should just relocate the Golden Knights to avoid more casino problems among players.

Ottawa Attendance

Attendance in Ottawa has always been a hot topic, but no need to panic if you’re Eugene Melnyk. The Ottawa Citizen ran a piece on the low attendance this season after the Sens drew less than 10,000 fans to the game against the Sharks. Melnyk doesn’t seem concerned and believes it’s all part of the rebuilding process. He’s also promising to enhance the fan experience with more theme nights and more fresh food offerings. That’s what’s going to bring the fans back! There’s nothing in this article that is new to the readers; however, there were instances where it felt like the Citizen was trying to emphasize that Melnyk can still properly manage this team or that this is more of an Ottawa market issue.

Melnyk did not help his cause by musing late in 2017 that he might consider moving the team to another city if the economics became a “disaster.”

This is the only thing Melnyk did to bring upon fan disinterest? The article doesn’t mention that purposeful alienating of the fan base by trading its top players and refusing to spend any money on the team, choosing the words “he’s been careful with cash” instead. It brushes over the Alfredsson departure by simply stating that “he left”. As long as Ottawa media does not hold Melnyk accountable for his role in the downfall of this team and its fan base, we will continue to see the same trend of excuses being made for countless failures of running this team.

Worst City For Visiting Players

While the Ottawa Senators may be faring low in attendance, at least they weren’t rated as the worst visiting city by the players. A recent poll of 50 anonymous NHL players revealed that 42% of the players surveyed thought Winnipeg was the worst city to play in as a visiting team. It wasn’t because of tough crowds that make it hard to play or distractions in the city that could tire them out; it’s because the city is dirty. Dirty? Some players stated that it was such a depressing city, they wouldn’t even leave their hotels to buy a cup of coffee. Harsh. I have never been to Winnipeg and I’m used to cold weather in Ottawa (which received 4%, or 2/50 of the votes) but the following comment by an anonymous players seems a bit over the top:

It’s just dirty – you walk around the city and feel like you need to wash your face after you go outside. So nothing about it is very exciting.

These players make millions of dollars but find it necessary to call someone’s hometown dirty and depressing? Not wanting to leave your hotel room after being there a day or two seems a bit excessive. It would be nice to see some of the Winnipeg Jets players or some Winnipeg natives in the NHL come out with some response. Whatever the case may be, I do feel like there should be a certain level of respect when visiting a city that is hosting you and your team.