After A seA­son from hell, Sen­A­tors will suf­fer greAtly un­til the truth Comes out

Ottawa Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - DON BREN­NAN

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.

Monika Caryk


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