Eugene Melnyk believes it's only "a question of time" before his struggling Ottawa Senators returns to their winning ways.
The Senators remain winless on a five-game road trip that wraps up tonight in Anaheim against the Ducks (8 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200). But the team's owner feels a few more goals from the team's top guns and some luck on the injury front are just the tonic for what currently ails the Sens.
"I'm not concerned because at the end of the day, I believe the quality of the players that we have can truly rise to the top," he said during a break from his annual Eugene Melnyk Skate For Kids earlier today at Scotiabank Place. "These are not one-trick ponies. These are players that have proven year after year that they can compete at the highest level. It's just a matter of time, when they all click in."
Despite their road woes, the Senators (13-10-4) still hold down seventh place in the Eastern Conference. But after running off a five-game winning streak at Scotiabank Place – where they're 10-3-3 this season – Ottawa has seen its fortunes change dramatically on the west coast.
"I'm not concerned because at the end of the day, I believe the quality of the players that we have can truly rise to the top. These are not one-trick ponies. These are players that have proven year after year that they can compete at the highest level. It's just a matter of time, when they all click in." - Eugene Melnyk
"We're playing very well at home and something's obviously gone wrong on the road," said Melnyk in the wake of Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. "I spoke to Bryan (Murray, the Senators GM) during the game last night and it's obvious what we need. The elite players have to start playing their best and once they do that, I think we can be as competitive as ever. We're hoping that happens fairly quickly and we can get right back to where we were at the beginning of the season."
Melnyk remains convinced the Senators' current rough patch is just "a bump in the road" that needs to be overcome on the road to the playoffs.
"That's all it is. There's no question about it," he said. "I think we can play with any of the elite teams. There are some tough teams out there but if you even look at the San Jose game (a 5-2 loss last Tuesday) ... we were there skating with them up until the last 10 minutes of the game.
"If you look at every single game we lost, we were right there with the top teams and we can do it. It's a game of inches. This is hockey and if it just starts clicking for you ... right now, it truly is a bump in the road."