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Sens' Melnyk blames agent Barry for Alfredsson's exit

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TSN.ca Staff
8/16/2013 2:05:03 PM
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Daniel Alfredsson's explanation for leaving the Ottawa Senators and signing with the Detroit Red Wings sparked plenty of reaction from the principals involved, including his agent J.P. Barry, Senators general manager Bryan Murray and even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

And it didn't take long for Eugene Melnyk to weigh in as well.

The Senators' team owner was quick to defend Murray and their side of the offseason's biggest story and took direct aim at Barry for Alfredsson's exit from the nation's capital.

"For anyone to even suggest the remote possibility that Bryan Murray is not fully honest in his clear recollection of events should be ashamed of themselves," Melnyk told TSN on Friday. "I point the finger squarely on JP Barry, the man who blessed us with the (Dany) Heatley mess."

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Thursday, Alfredsson said a lack of communication in contract negotiations with the Senators factored in for his choice to sign a one-year contract with the Red Wings and that his last contract had been structured under the assumption he would retire before the final year of the deal that paid $1 million.

Alfredsson then said that Barry informed Murray that in late June that he wanted to play another season.

"I'm disappointed to hear that contract issues were something important to him that he didn't feel we were trying to accommodate," Murray said on the team website after the news conference. "I think in every shape and form we wanted this man back to be the captain of our hockey team and it didn't work out. Sometimes in negotiating all the facts aren't maybe presented to the player the right way, but we certainly feel bad that Daniel reacted the way he did today."

Murray added Alfredsson asked for a $7 million, one-year contract or $12 million, two year contract prior to the 2013 draft. He said the team countered with a one-year deal worth $4.5 million which Alfredsson declined and talks dwindled from there.

Murray also told The Ottawa Sun on Thursday he thought Barry may not have been giving him or Alfredsson all the details over the contract negotiations between both sides - a sentiment shared by Melnyk.

"If you want to play a blame game - that is where you should be looking," Melnyk told TSN on Friday. "I have a lot of respect for Daniel. I simply think he was not told the whole story or worse, was lied to. I won't be commenting on this again. We are busy and have a Stanley Cup to win."

JP Barry was contacted by TSN on Friday for a response and said he stood by his comments made the previous day.

"Shooting the messenger is something I have never believed in nor will I ever," Barry explained to TSN on Thursday. "It's just not productive in our business to make negotiations personal."

"I decided not to respond in July when Bryan chose to criticize my role as an agent in this process. It was an emotional day. I get it.

"The fact is this was a negotiation concerning impending free agency. We made multiple offers and invited them to negotiate. They provided a number on the weekend prior to July 5 and said this is all they can do due to internal budget restrictions. It wasn't a market offer in our estimation. They wanted Daniel to take a below market deal again after he had done the same several times previously and we didn't feel that was appropriate."

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