Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and star defenseman Erik Karlsson don’t see eye-to-eye on the NHL’s participation in the Olympics.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca sat down with Melnyk, who made it perfectly clear where he stands on the topic:
“So I’m going to give Sweden my best player at the risk of him being injured. Beating our Canadian team. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe if it was a Canadian going to play for Canada… maybe. But right now it doesn’t make any sense for our franchise, or it’s not fair to our fans, if we were to lose him god forbid in a year like this, to an injury in the Olympics.”
Regrettably, Melnyk is being a complete hypocrite. Karlsson’s nationality should have no impact on the decision. It’s complete and utter bullshit. If he allows a Canadian to participate, everyone on the Sens’ roster should be able to go.
Karlsson kept his answer simple in response to whether he wants to go:
“I really want to go and feel that all of the players do, too.”
It would be a shame if Melnyk prevented Karlsson from going. Gary Bettman is already actively suppressing player’s hopes of going by using Olympic participation as a negotiating tactic. Thankfully, not all NHL higher-ups are as selfish. Capitals owner Ted Leonis was fully supportive of his stars going.
Look, I get Melnyk wants to protect his assets. But, selectively preventing players from attending is downright silly. Hopefully, Karlsson’s plea helps change Melnyk’s mind, because I can’t imagine the tension if the Sens owner blocks Karlsson’s chance at representing his country.