It’s time for the Screenshots column, and if you visit these parts regularly, you know what it means – we cover two or three hockey topics with more brevity than a regular column. Next we go:
– At a press conference in Denver on Wednesday between NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley, two interesting stories were heard. The first was with their announcement that the Stanley Cup would not go to Russia or Belarus for at least this summer; NHL players with Russian or Belarusian roots should spend their day with the Cup either in North America, or hope that Russia’s terrible war of aggression against Ukraine is over by the summer of 2023 and celebrate with the Cup at that moment. .
The league does not receive additional points for this turn. It’s the least they could do, given the global consensus that Russia (and its ally Belarus) are clearly the villains in this war. But this is another brick in the wall around the aggressors, and it is important that the hockey community speaks out in unison to condemn the horrors perpetrated by Vladimir Putin and his henchmen. It’s sad that athletes have to pay the price for the crimes committed by their leaders, but pretending everything is fine would be even sadder.
– Bettman also noted that nothing has changed regarding the ownership of the Ottawa Senators, which lost owner Yevgeny Melnik at the end of March. He transferred ownership of Sens and his other assets to his daughters Anna and Olivia, and Bettman did not believe suggestions that Melnick’s daughters were interested in selling the team.
“Property is property,” Bettman told reporters on Wednesday. “The franchise is fully stable and operating as normal.”
Bettman acknowledged that the Senators were looking for a new ice rink in LeBreton Flats, but did not elaborate. Regardless, many seasoned hockey watchers feel that if the franchise is going to stay in Ottawa, it should have a new building in the heart of downtown Ottawa. Whether or not the Miller’s daughters keep control of the team, it cannot thrive in Kanata.
But in the short term, Senators will need a solid financial commitment from their owners if they are going to build on the gains made by general manager Pierre Dorion. The Sens have (according to CapFriendly.com) more than $23.2 million in their salary cap this summer, but Dorion must pay limited free agent key hitters Josh Norris and Alex Formanton and quite possibly buy out goaltender Matt Murray’s contract. which currently has two years left before hitting the $6.25 million cap.
Basically this is enough to keep the core of Ottawa intact, but that should not be the goal of this group. If they want to seriously challenge Toronto, Florida, Boston and Tampa Bay for a spot in the Atlantic Division playoffs next year, the Senators need to add veterans scoring up front. Ottawa native and unrestricted free agent Claude Giroud fits the bill perfectly, but Giroud sounded like someone who might want to stay with the Florida Panthers for the rest of his career. Dorion would need a lot of space to sign it, but he wasn’t their only option. There will be teams that sell players for no good reason – Alex DeBrinkat in Chicago, anyone? – and it’s on the Sens bosses to shell out for the draft picks and prospects it would take to acquire a difference maker.
They may not last long for Kanata, but the Senators have a chance to build something special in Ottawa. Now the question is whether they are willing to live by the familiar old maxim “You can’t make money without spending it.” It’s time to make bigger investments.