After A seAson from hell, SenAtors will suffer greAtly until the truth Comes out
Just when it looked like the Senators season from hell was mercifully over, things took an unbelievable turn for the worse. A million times worse.
And don’t look now, because the end is nowhere in sight.
Weeks after captain Erik Karlsson had a face-to-face parking lot confrontation with teammate Mike Hoffman over a belief Hoffman’s fiancée, Monika Caryk, was guilty of unthinkable harassment of his wife, the matter wasn’t settled.
Melinda Karlsson filed an application for an order of protection alleging Caryk has threatened her and posted “over 1,000 negative and derogatory statements” from Nov. 17 up to and through stillbirth of the Karlsson’s son on March 19.
The accusations go far beyond disturbing: Caryk allegedly wished the child and mother to die and that someone “take out (Karlsson’s) legs to end his career.”
Hoffman emphatically denies Caryk’s involvement.
“We’ve been aware of this situation for months,” said Mike Luit at Octagon Agency, which represents Hoffman. “This happened at the end of the year. We’ve been very clear with the club. I’ve talked to the players’ association about it. We’ve been very up front about Mike’s support of Monika and denial of what’s going on. He told that to Erik face-to-face at the end of the season.
“Mike has made himself available to get to the bottom of it. Cyber-bullying in our society is not good. It’s bad. This is epidemic. That’s certainly not something Mike and Monika is going to engage in.
“It’s been very perplexing for them. They’ve been very supportive of the Karlssons, and what has gone on, notwithstanding the accusation, and are really mystified as to how this is landing on Monika.
“Mike is not involved. He’s supporting Monika, and they’ve done some research. They clearly want to find out who this is (that’s responsible.)”
This story absolutely trivializes everything else that went amiss for the Senators through the 2017-18 campaign:
Icon Daniel Alfredsson’s decision to bolt from the organization for a second time.
The team’s fall from a berth in the Eastern final to 30th place.
The trading of Kyle Turris, a popular player and figure in the community.
Owner Eugene Melnyk’s veiled threats the Senators would relocate.
The sudden and unexplained departure of Tom Anselmi, the chief executive and president.
Melnyk’s decision not to replace Anselmi but to take over the roles himself.
The #Melnykout signs, paid for by fans pleading for an ownership change.
The trouble assistant GM Randy Lee got himself into in Buffalo.
And anything else that has temporarily slipped the portion of our mind overloaded with Senators problems.
No, this is far worse than any of it. This is a gigantic problem between the club’s best player and its top scorer, and it has surely divided the room.
“As a hockey player, I’m f---ing outraged over something like this,” said one veteran outside the organization. “If this was ever going on in a team, and I’m sure it is in today’s world, to some degree ... it’s too hard to win. You just can’t have this. You can’t have the smell of it.”
Somebody called it “the story of the year.” How about the story of all years?
This could be turned into a made-for-TV movie, except it might be too far-fetched. And don’t expect the W Network’s Hockey Wives to dare touch it.
Who is telling the truth? Melinda or Monika?
Until that comes out — and the investigation could be both long and arduous — the Senators will suffer greatly.
They’ve been trying to trade Hoffman. They want to do it before the draft in 10 days. Nobody will want anything to do with him before his fiancée is proven innocent or guilty.
Same goes for Karlsson, who in one year will seek to become one of the highest-paid players in the game. The Senators say they’ll offer him a contract extension when permitted by league rules in three weeks. It’s believed Karlsson will reject it, forcing the Senators to trade him.
But if Melinda is wrong with her suspicions or proof, and the sicko continues to harass her, does that not limit the number of teams willing to pay up prospects and draft picks and $80 million to $100 million for her husband?
Either way, one of Monika or Melinda appears to be in serious trouble. One of them is going to be guilty of something. Either harassment or defamation.
And one hockey player still very much in his prime earning years could take a hard hit.
“Mike is fully co-operative, a categorical denial,” said Luit. “He has offered to help in any way he can to get to the bottom of what it is. To find this person (responsible), to the degree it is possible.
“Of course, if it isn’t possible, then it leaves me numb ... after what’s been said about her.”
Luit knows his client’s reputation could be on the line.
“This is a young couple’s marital relationship. This is a hockey player’s career, and this is a young lady’s lifelong reputation at stake.
“And, not to forget, that Erik has been harassed. Athletes expect they’re going to be harassed. In today’s social media world, it’s amplified.
“There’s a great deal of compassion, as this circumstance is unfathomable.”
As is the whole story. Even in this Senators season.
Melinda and Erik Karlsson. Melinda Karlsson has filed for a protection order against Sens player Mike Hoffman’s girlfriend.