Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reported today that the talk amongst the bidders for ownership of the Ottawa Senators is that Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos is the current favorite to purchase the franchise. Apostolopoulos was one of four bidders with the other three being Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks, Michael and Jeffrey Kimel of Harlo Capital, and Toronto’s Michael Andlauer. Garrioch goes on to say that Apostolopoulos, who missed out on purchasing the NFL’s Washington Commanders is in the driver’s seat as he had the highest bid at $1 billion.
Garrioch adds that it is far from a done deal as there has been talk that the other ownership groups have been making moves to improve their bids and add additional people to their groups. Sources have told Garrioch that Andlauer is confident he will get the team and he believes his position with the Montreal Canadiens as an alternate member of the NHL’s board of governors will give him the inside track to the Senators ownership. There was talk earlier in the week that Andlauer and the Kimel’s might form a collective group, but those talks have apparently stopped after not getting very far.
It’ll be interesting to see where the Senator’s ownership saga goes in the upcoming weeks. Gary Bettman doesn’t generally like to have other teams making announcements during the Stanley Cup finals, and with game 1 set for Saturday night it might be well into June when there is an official announcement about who will be the next owner of the Senators.
In other snapshots from around the NHL:
- The Pittsburgh Penguins got to work today in the first day with Kyle Dubas at the helm. Dubas took over as president of hockey operations and interim general manager from Brian Burke and Ron Hextall and was quick to make moves to dismiss some members of the old guard. Josh Yohe of The Athletic reported that director of pro scouting Kerry Huffman, director of hockey operations and salary cap management Alec Schall, and senior VP of integrated performance Teena Murray were all let go with at least one year remaining on their contracts. All three were hired by Hextall and will not be part of the new management group in Pittsburgh as they rebuild their hockey ops after a disappointing season in which they missed the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
- Tom Gulitti of NHL.com writes that Florida Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen is practicing with the team in Vegas ahead of game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals tomorrow night. Luostarinen was paired back up with his usual linemates Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell. The 24-year-old was injured in game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes but has yet to miss a game. Paul Maurice was quoted in The Hockey News on Monday saying that he expected Luostarinen to be ready for game 1 and things appear to be trending that way. Luostarinen has been a big part of the Panthers third line in this postseason putting up two goals and three assists in 16 games.