Melnyk ponders

The Ottawa Senators dressing room at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa is emptied out after the final...

The Ottawa Senators dressing room at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa is emptied out after the final media availability for the season Saturday June 9, 2007. The Senators lost the Stanley Cup final to the Anaheim Ducks in game five of the series. (PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

OTTAWA -- The ball is the court of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

As the Senators packed their bags and headed their separate ways at Scotiabank Place yesterday, the futures of president Roy Mlakar, general manager John Muckler and coach Bryan Murray remained cloudy.

It's believed Melnyk is being asked to consider a plan that will include contract extensions for Mlakar, Muckler and Murray. Muckler, who has a three-year deal to remain as a consultant when his contract as a GM expires at the end of next season, has said he is happy in his current role.

Melnyk met with the players for 20 minutes following the club's 6-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final on Wednesday. One player said Melnyk "was proud of the way" they had performed and "appreciated" everything they accomplished.

The Senators hope to have the situation resolved quickly because work already is beginning for next year. Mlakar spoke with Melnyk's lawyer Sheldon Plener on Friday about a plan going forward.

Melnyk's spokesman, Ken Villazor, said in an e-mail that the owner is "not commenting" on the future of the club's management.

"I raised that question with ownership to see if we can expedite things here," Mlakar said. "I laid out a plan for (Melnyk's) consideration last September. We're pleased with the organization right now. It's fair to say I'm awaiting an answer right now. This all just unfolded in the last 48 hours."

There is a sense of urgency because Mlakar and Muckler have one year left on their contracts, while Murray's expires at the end of June.

Mlakar is aware that giving Murray a one-year contract after getting to the Stanley Cup final wouldn't be the right thing to do.

"The man has achieved a lot of success and done a very good job, so that's got to be taken into consideration," Mlakar said.

There was talk that Muckler, 73, might retire, but he indicated he won't be going anywhere if he has any say.

"I'm having too much fun," Muckler said. "I haven't looked that far ahead, but I do have one more year."

While there has also been talk that Murray would take over the duties as GM, he indicated he is content in his role as coach and told Muckler that during a one-hour meeting Friday.

"In the next couple of weeks, we'll talk and by the draft (in Columbus) we'll have a better idea then," Murray said.


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