Melnyk can't take new deal to bank

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk says he won't cash in with the new collective bargaining agreement, but vowed to stick around "as long as I'm on this planet."

Melnyk, who spoke to the Sun from his Barbados home before making the trek to Ottawa today for the NHL entry draft, is excited the NHL will finally return this fall.

And while the $39-million (all figures US) salary cap contained within the new collective bargaining agreement should help the Senators contend for a Stanley Cup every season, Melnyk said the club won't make any cash unless it goes deep into the playoffs.

"It all depends on where we spend," said Melnyk. "If we go to the high end of the cap, then no, but that would include financing costs. In a market the size we're dealing with, we're never going to make any money unless you really get into the playoffs and you go a couple of rounds.

"You can break even and make a bit of money. That's not the reason I bought the team. I bought the team because I love hockey. It's something I have always dreamed of doing."

Melnyk loves being at the Corel Centre as often as he can and on nights he can't be here, he watches the Senators play on satellite TV at Bert's Bar in Barbados.

"Yes, as long as I'm on this planet, I'm going to be involved," said Melnyk.

"Even if it is losing money. That's not something my bankers want to hear. What we will make sure is it makes a little bit of money and that's purely to ensure the survival of the franchise."

Melnyk admitted the philosophy will change with the blueliners Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara and Chris Phillips, and forwards Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat all set to become unrestricted free agents in the next two years.

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"We talked about that at length last week in New York," said Melnyk. "One of the things that was a competitive advantage we had was drafting very well and developing players over time.

"Now we have a new world order. That program may not be the wisest program because just when the player is reaching their peak, you have the threat of losing them. You need to adapt to that."

Melnyk says an NHL all- star game will be held here before 2011.

"We have that commitment from (NHL commissioner) Gary (Bettman)," said Melnyk. "It was going to be before 2011, but with a year lost, it has been pushed back. You've also got to factor in the 2010 Olympics."


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