NHL Notebook: Top bidder for Ottawa Senators walks away, Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes early favourites for 2024 Stanley Cup, and more

Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
10 months ago
The top bidder for the Ottawa Senators has reportedly withdrawn his bid and is walking away from the lengthy process to purchase the team.
Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos, who was considered the front-runner because of a bid reportedly topping $1-billion, is now the second bidder to walk away from the process due to frustration.
The Senators have been on the market to be sold since early November, and had four groups submit offers ahead of the May 15 deadline.
Citing sources, the Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch reported Friday that Apostolopoulos felt the negotiations were too long with representatives of the Melnyk Estate and GSP.
The remaining applicants include Michael Andlauer, Jeffery and Michael Kimel of Harlo Capital, and Los Angeles producer Neko Sparks.
Last month Ryan Reynolds and the Markham-based Remington Group were the first to bow out from the contest.
Here’s what Garrioch had to say about what the future of the Ottawa Senators ownership holds:
Sources say the bid by Sparks is underfunded and doesn’t stand much of a chance of winning. It has been kept in the mix as a fallback position and, given the fact there’s another group out, it’s not the worst-case scenario to keep it around.
That means it’s either going to be Andlauer or the Kimels that will take control of this franchise and neither group has submitted a $1-billion bid for the Senators.
A league source told this newspaper this news vaults Andlauer into the pole position with the Kimel family still solidly in the mix and pushing hard to make a deal to buy the Senators. A report a week ago indicated the Kimel family had pulled out, but Postmedia confirmed that wasn’t the case.
A well-placed league source maintained Friday that the sale remains on track and despite the departure and that the Senators will end up with a “strong owner”. Officials at GSP had been working on purchase agreements with the three top groups when Apostolopoulos walked away.
Those close to Andlauer say he wants the Senators badly and there’s talk he’s studying adding new investors to bring in more money. It’s believed his bid is now in the $900-million range.
A part-owner of the Montreal Canadiens, Andlauer is a member of the NHL’s board of governors and that is a draw for league head office. But, if he doesn’t get his bid where it needs to be, then he’ll finish second in this race.
Toronto billionaire Jamie Salter joined the Kimels bid and they submitted a new number to GSP on the weekend. It’s believed the Kimel bid at $950 million. The Kimels were minority owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins until the team sold to Fenway Sports Group in 2021.


The Edmonton Oilers and Carolina are early favourites for the 2024 Stanley Cup

The Edmonton Oilers fell short to the Vegas Golden Knights — who are currently battling it out with the Florida Panthers in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final — in the second round of the NHL playoffs back in May, but hockey experts are predicting that 2024 might be their year.
On Friday’s episode of Daily Faceoff Live, Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna selected one team from both conferences that they suspect would match up in next year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Here’s what Seravalli and McKenna had to say on the show:
Frank Seravalli: Who is the way-too-early 2024 Stanley Cup favorite? The betting odds will be out in short order declaring next year’s favorites. Who would be at the very top of your list? Give me one team, Mike.
Mike McKenna: Vegas is gonna return a lot of players, so they’ve got to be there. I’m gonna give you a sleeper and say, don’t sleep on Seattle. See what I did, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’? I actually think the Hurricanes, though, that’s a solid club that knows the moves they need to make this off-season to make that team even better. I think they’re in a position to be really good next season, so I’ll take a flyer and go with the Hurricanes. How about you?
Seravalli: I think the Edmonton Oilers are gonna be the betting favorite when the odds come out. Crazy?
McKenna: Mmmm-k. What’s the game plan there?
Seravalli: Oh, just the two best players in the world, let’s see what other support and ancillary pieces they can add to the mix. Obviously, the betting window, they liked the Oilers coming in and they were a favorite in Round 2 against the Golden Knights. Didn’t come together for them but I think they’re going to be well-featured on that odds board whenever it comes out.

The QMJHL increases punishment for fighting in hockey games

The Quebec Major Junior hockey league is looking to fundamentally shift the game of hockey and has aimed to put a ban on fighting.
On Friday, the league announced an aggressive stance on fighting with the addition or alteration of rules in regard to fighting in hockey games.
The QMJHL has been pointed about trying to minimize fighting in the league with the induction of a 10-minute misconduct to the standard five-minute major penalty for fighting back in 2020.
The new set of rules are set to take effect for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
This is what Daily Faceoff‘s Mike Gould noted about the details of the change:
Their were four rules added or altered in this change on fighting:
1. All players involved in the fight will receive a game misconduct.
2. Any player identified as the instigator of a fight will receive a one-game suspension in addition to a game misconduct.
3. Any player identified as the aggressor of a fight will receive a two-game suspension in addition to a game misconduct.
4. Any player that gets into their second fight of the season will receive a one-game suspension in addition to a game misconduct, as opposed to their third fight under the old rules.
The QMJHL has seen a drastic decrease in fights over the years as a result of their rule changes. They’ve gone from 0.78 fights per game in 2011-12 to 0.07 last season, while the NHL has gone from 0.44 to 0.25 in that same span.

Aleena Aksenchuk is an intern with Oilersnation and the Nation Network. She can be found on Twitter at @A_Aksenchuk8.

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