Melnyk: We're working towards Cup

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk pose after announcing Ottawa...

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk pose after announcing Ottawa will host the 2012 NHL All-Star game. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

Eugene Melnyk delivered on one promise by bringing the 2012 NHL all-star game to Ottawa.

This season, he’d like to serve up another.

“Win the Stanley Cup. That’s all we’re working toward now,” the Senators owner said Wednesday during a news conference at the Chateau Laurier.

Confidence reigns supreme in all 30 NHL cities in September and, as 50 players prepare to report for medicals Friday at Scotiabank Place, Melnyk is no different than any other owner at this time of year.

But Melnyk wasn’t about to predict there will be a Stanley Cup parade here next June.

“I think we were close last year, despite the result (a first-round loss to the Penguins),” said Melnyk. “I’ve said it year in and year out, it all comes down to who has the most men standing in April going into the playoffs. Each of those teams that got in (last year) and went on, we’ve beaten each one of those teams.

“This year, we’ve strengthened our team, we’ve strengthened our offence and I think speaking to (GM) Bryan (Murray), he’s as confident as he can be and (coach) Cory (Clouston) is very pleased. With just a little bit of luck coming our way with injuries, we’ll be right there. There’s no question we’re going to be a very good contender.”

After buying the team in 2003 and making a trip to the final in 2007 before losing in five games to Anaheim, Melnyk likes the direction the club is taking.

“I’ve got a lot of patience,” he said. “It’s the one thing I’ve learned to be. You learn how tough it is to win a Stanley Cup. There’s 29 other teams out there gunning for you and it’s going to happen.

“It’s not going to be 30 or 40 years (for the Senators to win the Cup), I can tell you that. We just keep building, and building, and building on our development of young players. You can see that happening already. I just need one year that we don’t get the top two, three or four players getting injured. We’re right there. There’s so much parity in this league anybody can win. You see that happening.”

Melnyk was happy the club signed offensive blueliner Sergei Gonchar off the free-agent market July 1.

“Every little bit counts and he’s not a little bit,” said Melnyk. “He’s a great player. I think it’s someone that we needed to help us out offensively. He fills a void that we had before and it’s going to be exciting seeing him playing. I just can’t wait to get the season going.”


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