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Mike Hoffman and fiancee hire lawyer to deny harassing family of Senators teammate Erik Karlsson

Both Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman might not have much time remaining in Ottawa. (AP Photo)

Ottawa Senators wing Mike Hoffman and his fiancee, Monika Caryk, are denying all allegations of viscous social media harassment against Melinda Karlsson, the wife of Senators captain Erik Karlsson.

The couple gave an in-depth interview to the Ottawa Citizen in an attempt to give their side of the story and potentially clear the air, though it’s hard to say if that’s even possible at this point.

Per the Citizen’s report, Hoffman and Caryk have hired Toronto lawyer Sheila Block of Torys LLP to contact Karlsson’s representatives and the Senators for a third-party investigation, saying the Karlsson’s have no proof they were behind the harassment and that they are “innocent until proven guilty.”

“It’s been a really hard week to be honest, Caryk said. “We both feel terrible for them that they have go through something like this and for us because we’re the accused.”

“It hasn’t been easy. You don’t wish this upon anyone. The comments were, and have been horrendous, and we haven’t had a chance to defend ourselves until this point.”

Melinda Karlsson’s allegations against Mike Hoffman and Monica Caryk

According to Melinda Karlsson, Caryk has posted over 1,000 negative and derogatory comments against her and her husband, some of which contained truly vile statements. You can read many of the comments here, but the true low point was an Instagram comment supposedly tied to Caryk taunting Karlsson about his stillborn son and accusing Melinda of a painkiller addiction.

All of these comments come from anonymous social media accounts, which the Karlssons believe are run by Caryk. Melinda filed for an order of protection against Caryk recently, while Hoffman and Caryk immediately denied the allegations.

Mike Hoffman and Monica Caryk’s side of the story

These allegations immediately triggered a firestorm against Hoffman and Caryk, though the anger came from some corners of the NHL long before the Ottawa Citizen broke the story. Caryk says she received an email on March 22 from Taylor Winnik, the wife of the Minnesota Wild’s Daniel Winnik.

“I got a horrific email from a girl named Taylor Winnik, I believe her husband plays in the NHL, saying that I’m a horrible and disgusting person, accusing me of writing negative stuff about the fact that Erik and Melinda lost their child,” Caryk said.

Per the Citizen, Caryk says that email was the first time she had heard of the allegations, which she has not discussed with Melinda. After learning of the situation, Hoffman says he immediately reached out to William, who said he would like to discuss it with Hoffman.

“It wasn’t until four days later that he spoke with me. We ended up doing it after practice, walking out of the rink, and basically what was said was, ‘I’d like to see what your point of the story is’ and all he had to say was, ‘We know it was Monika’ and I asked whether it was on Instagram? Twitter? Just show something or prove something.

Karlsson reportedly didn’t provide any evidence when pushed and communication between the two shut down until the story broke. Since then, Hoffman and Caryk have understandably opted to stay away from social media, but the two lamented the damage the story has caused them, but still noted they sympathized with the Karlssons.

“Cyberbullying is a problem in our society and we’ve been swept into this horrible ordeal,” Caryk said. “We both want to give our full co-operation because we have nothing to hide.

“(The) nasty messages that we’re receiving right now are atrocious. They’re just gut-wrenching.”

Where do the Senators go from here?

Both Karlsson and Hoffman were trade candidates for the rebuilding Senators well before any of this went down. You can imagine the motivation to move at least one of them has dramatically increased. Both players possess significant trade value, though this drama is obviously a complicating factor.

Put simply, this situation is beyond just a mess that can be cleaned up. No matter what happened, no matter who is truly in the wrong, permanent damage has clearly been done to the relationships between the Karlssons, Hoffman, Caryk and the rest of the Senators.

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