OTTAWA - It’s not about the money for Eugene Melnyk.
The Senators owner has bought into the rebuild, but he told the Ottawa Sun Friday if the club has a chance to make the playoffs in February, he’d be willing to spend if GM Bryan Murray wants to add another piece to the puzzle.
Speaking to the Sun in a wide-ranging interview on the eve of the start of training camp, Melnyk admitted he doesn’t expect the Senators to make the playoffs this season. But if the possibility exists, he’ll do what it takes to help.
“If Bryan Murray says (they need another player), absolutely,” said Melnyk. “The money is not the issue here. This is a rebuilding of personnel.
“Even if Bryan came to me while we were in a playoff position and said, ‘If I can get this one piece, we might be able to get into the second round.’ If it comes through Bryan you’ve got to listen to the guy and you’ve got to say yes.”
Melnyk is confident that changes since the rebuild started last February will pay dividends.
“My expectations are that we are going to be an exciting team, we’re going to have some fun wins and we’re going to have some losses that we can shrug off because we played well,” said Melnyk from his Barbados home.
“We’ll be a fun, volatile team. Everybody is just going to have a lot of fun, but don’t kid yourself, everybody is taking it seriously to win.”
Melnyk said the new coaching staff of Paul MacLean, Dave Cameron and Mark Reeds will be a positive change.
“(MacLean) will relate better to the young players, yet at the same time he will have tremendous respect from the veterans,” said Melnyk. “The difference with him is he will tap into the veterans getting their input in what they want as opposed to just making decisions.”
For now, Melnyk is keeping expectations low.
“I want to see improvement of the young players. Would I love to get into the playoffs? Absolutely,” he said. “That would be the most exciting thing for all of us and all of the fans. I mean, here we have the youngest team in the league with a lot of spunk, some great veterans and all of a sudden we’re making the playoffs.”