Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk ((pictured, thanks CP)) is firing back at BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie.
Melnyk has released a statement that reads like an open letter to Balsillie, addressing claims by the Research In Motion co-CEO that he lacks personal integrity and expressing dismay over Balsillie's attempts to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.
In the statement, Melnyk indicates he once felt bad for Balsillie but now understands why he shouldn't be allowed to own an NHL team.
This is some, flat-out, juicy cat-fighting. And if Balsillie thought he had friends anywhere in the owners fraternity, this attempt to piss on a few others to point fingers won't go over well with da judge and the rest of da frat...Not the way to play the game... the idea of Balsillie as a white-knight, sympathetic-figure type was the right play. But BlackBerry Jim looks like he set that approach on fire as well.
Here are some of the highlights of the letter, thanks to the Ottawa Sun...
"As a businessman, I know about playing tough and getting your elbows up.
I also know lessons that most of us learned early in our childhoods - you play fair; you play by the rules and you help others when you can.
I have watched with some dismay Jim Balsillie's fall from being a deserving business icon to what now appears to be a desperate man willing to say anything or do anything to buy an NHL franchise.
I used to privately feel sympathy for his plight, but as I've watched his conduct with and towards the league and other owners, I clearly believe the sport of hockey is better off without him.
In a recent legal filing, he dragged me into his hurricane of legal filings and panicked pleas and cited me as someone who is lacking the personal integrity to own the Ottawa Senators hockey franchise.
I've tried to reach Jim through his office to find out why he would say something like this about me - we barely know each other - but I've received no response.
I will say in response publicly that his willingness to drag down anyone he can get his hands on along with him is discouraging and saddens me.
It is well documented that I was required to pay fines to the OSC over civil administrative oversights like filing paperwork on time. This is a far cry from the sanctions imposed on Jim Balsillie by the Ontario Securities Commission arising from his role in the improper grant by Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM, TSX: RIM) of more than 1,000 stock options involving millions of shares over a period of almost ten years, his role in the systematic and repeated issuance by RIM over many years of misleading disclosure concerning RIM's stock option dating practices, and the benefits Balsillie derived personally from stock options that were granted improperly to him . These sanctions are widely acknowledged to be among the most severe ever imposed by a Securities Commission in Canada (see http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/Enforcement/Proceedings/AlphaListing/ep_r_index.jsp)
I'm comfortable in my own skin, Jim. You should look around at the friends you are losing and the damage you are causing to yourself, the NHL and all Canadians."
Two words: Me-F'n-Yow...
The NHL's Bill Daly issued a statement that had Melnyk's back... read it here...
And da judge gets to read all this while he's on vacation...
September 2nd should be a hoot-and-a-half...