Eugene Melnyk was quoted widely in the press today as saying that the Senators are "at a crossroads".
Nothing earth shattering about that. But what is strange is that different news outlets are spinning his words in both positive and negative ways.
The Ottawa Citizen, in a small piece written by James Gordon (who also writes the Hockey Capital blog) interprets Melnyk's statement as one that doesn't give a vote of confidence to Bryan Murray and Craig Hartsburg.
In this context, Melnyk's words are somewhat ominous:
"Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk hinted Wednesday that jobs will be on the line if his team doesn’t start winning down the stretch.
Asked if he would give a vote of confidence to general manager Bryan Murray and head coach Craig Hartsburg in Ottawa Wednesday, Melnyk instead voiced his expectations.
“As far as I‘m concerned, right now, we are at a crossroads,” he said. “This is it. We have to win 26-27 games (to make the postseason) and it’s got to be done, and if it’s not done, well, we’ll have to deal with it."
That makes it sound like Geno is issuing an ultimatum for Murray and Hartsburg.
Then you go over to TSN.ca and that same statement is conveyed in a much more positive way.
"This has not been the season we had all hoped to have," Melnyk stated. "We had great high expectations but it's not over 'til it's over.
"I still continue to believe in our players, our organization and our staff. You can mark my words - things are going to get better."
Melnyk said he would continue to leave hockey decisions in the hands of the hockey people as the Senators continue to pursue a winning formula - unless the losing continues.
"As far as I'm concerned right now we are at a crossroads," Melnyk said. "This is it. We have to win 26-27 games. It's got to be done and if it's not done, well, we will have to deal with it."
Put in this context, Melnyk seems to be giving at least a slight vote of confidence to his staff and his players and that last sentence doesn't seem so threatening.
I think that what both TSN and the Citizen make clear is that Melnyk won't hesitate to make changes if the dismal performances continue, but the Citizen article seems to imply that changes could be just around the corner, rather than later.
So which one is right?