NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2023

by | Jun 12, 2023 | News, NHL | 26 comments

Updates on the Panthers and Golden Knights, the latest on the bidding for the Senators, Connecticut governor expresses interest in moving the Coyotes to Hartford, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


FLA HOCKEY NOW: Matthew Tkachuk’s status for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final remains uncertain after the Florida Panthers winger saw limited playing time in his club’s Game 4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images)

Florida head coach Paul Maurice said the club has two days to evaluate Tkachuk’s condition. It appears the Panthers star was playing with an injured shoulder during the 3-2 loss on Saturday.

CBS SPORTS: Tkachuk isn’t the only Panther nursing an injury. Winger Anthony Duclair is being evaluated to determine his availability for Tuesday’s crucial game. He was shaken up during Game 4. An update on his status is expected on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Tkachuk and Duclair for Game 5 would rob the Panthers of two of their leading scorers as they try to stave off elimination. Even if they play, their injuries could hamper their effectiveness.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights center Jack Eichel is expected to play in Game 5 on Tuesday in Las Vegas. Eichel left Game 4 during the second period when he suffered an upper-body injury after being struck with a puck off the stick of teammate Jonathan Marchessault. He returned to action in the third period.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL officials have reportedly served notice to representatives of the estate of Eugene Melnyk to complete the sale of the Senators as soon as possible. The three remaining bidders are also pushing for a decision.

This comes after Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos recently withdrew his rumored $1 billion USD bid. He was reportedly frustrated about the ongoing selection process.

That has made Toronto billionaire businessman Michael Andlauer more aggressive in his pursuit of the franchise. He’s reportedly informed officials with the Melnyk estate and broker Galatito Sports Partner that he’s ready to sign immediately and wants this done. His bid is believed to be between $900 million and $950 million.

Andlauer and billionaire brothers Jeffrey and Michael Kimel are considered the two legitimate bidders remaining in the process. Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks has also made a bid but it’s being considered a fall-back position in case the other two bids fall through.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league could be understandably anxious after Apostolopoulos become the second major bidder in less than a month to withdraw from the process. Garrioch claims sources indicate the sale would be completed soon as it’s believed negotiations are in the final stages with the preferred bidder. It’s worth noting that Andlauer is now considered the front-runner and has NHL experience as he owns 10 percent of the Montreal Canadiens.

WTNH.COM: Connecticut governor Ned Lamont said he has a group in place to buy the troubled Arizona Coyotes and move them to Hartford. The club would replace the Whalers, which relocated to Carolina in 1997 and become the Hurricanes.

Lamont said the XL Center (formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center) would have to be refurbished to accommodate an NHL franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I said yesterday on Twitter, as much as I’d love to see the NHL return to Hartford, the league (especially Commissioner Gary Bettman) isn’t interested in relocating the Coyotes. They’ll continue fighting to keep the club in Arizona.

Should the league’s efforts fail, I expect their preference would be moving the Coyotes to a western US city such as Houston, Salt Lake City or Portland.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was disappointed that prospects Adam Fantilli and Leo Carlsson didn’t take part in the physical testing during last week’s NHL draft combine in Buffalo. The pair opted out citing their recent participation in the World Championships as a competitive disadvantage.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets have the third-overall pick in the upcoming draft. Fantilli or Carlsson could be available to the Jackets when it’s time to make their selection. Could their decision to skip the physical testing affect who Kekalainen chooses with that pick? We’ll find out during the opening round on June 28.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports Jonathan Toews isn’t returning to the Chicago Blackhawks. He believes we’ll hear from Toews in the coming weeks whether he’ll retire or continue his NHL playing career with another club.

Power also wrote that the Blackhawks aren’t expected to re-sign their remaining unrestricted free agents after inking Andreas Athanasiou to a new contract last week. Those UFAs include goaltender Alex Stalock and winger Jujhar Khaira.

THE ATHLETIC: Retired Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is making a smooth transition as an in-studio NHL analyst for TNT.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: An upcoming ESPN documentary traces the Anaheim Ducks franchise from its founding 30 years ago based on a Disney movie to reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2003.

ECHL: The Florida Everblades are the Kelly Cup champions for the second straight year. They won the ECHL championship on Friday night with a four-game sweep of the Idaho Steelheads in front of a franchise-record crowd of 7,855 fans at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida. The Everblades are the ECHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers and the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.


  1. Re: “Bruce Garrioch reports NHL officials have reportedly served notice to representatives of the estate of Eugene Melnyk to complete the sale of the Senators as soon as possible.”

    Or what?

    • Or Bettman moves the team to some guy’s backyard rink in Wyoming. Quite an untapped hockey market there.

      • LOL

      • Yep…,The Yellowstone Yotes??

    • Or…. They get another notice

      If that fails…. Yet another notice (this one in bold caps)

      • Or, as Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory would do …. “write a stern letter.”

    • So I guess was right. There is something off with this sale as like I mentioned before, there were bad signs with the deal when your two of your best (safest, richest, and most complete) offers/owners cut bait. It’s not normal for that to happen as it did. Of course I don’t have the inside scoop as to what happened and why but it doesn’t take a lot to see that some sort of bs was involved.

      I hope after all this they end up with someone good…🤷

      • I suggested the same thing Ron when the Remington group along with Reynolds walked away.

        The only reason I thought there may be issues with the process was the comment – we felt like we were competing with ourselves – or something to that effect.

        But hey, the Melnyk’s own the team, they can do this how they want. Same with the bidders, some decided they weren’t happy with the process.

        Hopefully the city and fans of Ottawa get an ownership group that is stable and be profitable so the team can succeed.

      • If I were to guess, I would bet a major hurdle it the City of Ottawa and their constant waffling on the Lebreton Flats. Any owner would want SOME type of guarantee before dropping a billion bucks. Remington was the first that sought that and left when it was denied.

        Literally a replay of why the current arena ended being built where it is back in the 90s.

  2. Florida Everblades played in front of 7,855 fans

    Yotes, if they stay…. Face max 4,600 for (now) another 5 years…. Max 4,600…. For an NHL game 💩💩 and more 💩

    The hold up is one person and one person only….. Bettman

    ANY other location is better….

    Hartford and Altanta would certainly be an improvement; but not logical over…..

    1st (absolute best option , short, mid, long term…. For ALL)…. 2nd GTA

    2nd…. Houston

    3rd (I’d love to see this again 👍👍👍) QC

    4th SLC

    5th /6th KC then Portlan; or Portland then KC

    7th Halifax

    8th Sakatoon

    9th San Diego

    Then you get to:

    10th Hartford

    11th Atlanta

    12th Baltimore

    12 better options than staying in the barn

    This list could easily get to 20 or 25

    Playing in front of 4,600 for several more years only because one man refuses to admit his mistakes….. absolutely , positively…. Insane

    Here are other options (in no particular order) ….. far far better than keeping Yotes where they are….

    Austin, OKC, Indianapolis; Jacksonville; Orlando; Cleveland; Regina; 3rd GTA team

    The list goes on and on and on and on

    ALL above…. Relo fees (Owners benefit); AND substantial increases in fans and HRR…. so all benefit

    It would actually benefit the owners to give Bettman $30 M to retire. Next commissionef rubber stamps the move…. To ANYWHERE…. Relo fees several times the measly $30 M “severance” for Gary; fan base increases; HRR goes up substantially…. Gedderdone

    Re Toews…. Would love to see him play again…. Hope his health issues are over

    Should have several teams willing to give him $1M sal plus plenty of PBs (several levels in contract to obtain a potential payout worthy of play/performance)

    This Pens fan would salivate for Toews in; Granlund out at 3C

    Yes….. Pens get older still…. But we’re talking Toews over Granlund….. no brainer

    Sure other options at 3C…. But no option should include Granlund in the Roster…. Buyout saves $4.2 M in Cap this year; $3.2 M next year…. Just biying him out and replacing him with Nylander…. Pens this year get younger, bigger, stronger, faster; better…. AND net Cap savings of $3.4 M

    • Toews and Kane both didnt age well, neither did Tavaras for that matter, i dont want any of them. Domi is an FA, maybe someone like Logan Couture can be had since the Sharks are in full rebuild. Toews is done, i expect him to retire, if not I would expect nothinng but disappointment for whomever he signs with

  3. Hopefully the sale does not drag on past the upcoming draft
    Dorion is pretty much handcuffed with any decision making until it happens
    Talk about dragging something out ???
    Is it the Melnyk estate holding everything up ??

    George – IMO -Just buy it yourself , partner up with Elton John and Dua Lipa , add a little “pop” to the deal, players from everywhere will want to sign with the Senators !!

    • Heh. That seems to be the “theme” Ken. Find some celebrity willing to add his (or her) name to the proposed purchasing entity.

      If I was purchasing the team I’d want Beyoncé in my group. However, I just checked my accounts and it seems I’m about $9 hundred million and change short from competing.

      But all levity aside, it’s not as if the successful purchaser simply hands over a cheque for $xxx millions and says “where are the keys?”

      I doubt any of us in here have engaged in any financial transactions in amounts exceeding a mortgage, and so we have absolutely no clue as to the probably many details/clauses that go into the dealings.

      I understand the Melnyks want to retain a % ownership and so perhaps there are details there which are at the root cause of the delay. Just a guess, clearly there are still some i’s to be dotted and t’s to cross.

      • Hey George,

        I have spent most of my career as a key contributor and leader buying and selling several large multibillion. dollar assets. The process to announcing a final sale should normally take 6-10 weeks, with or without a non-binding expression of interest first stage. In a well run process the bankers will have widely canvassed the buyer universe and have a long list of interested parties (IP). While doing that they will work with the seller to organize salient info into a data room. These used to be paper when you and I were fine male specimens in our primes but are now completely digital and accessible from anywhere in the world. IPs will sign confidentiality agreements (CAs) to get access to the data room. This will contain instructions on the process including bid dates and bid requirements. The IPs will run their own financial models but good bankers will address the gray areas, uncertainties and risks proactively to maximize value. They often put full financial models in the data room. As the bid date approaches, the bankers will gauge interest and address concerns as needed. Typically you may get 20 IPs of which about half sign CAs and half of these parties actually bid, but this can vary widely between industries and depending on the assets. Once bids are in the banker presents them to the seller with a plan on how to proceed. This can vary from closing the process (no sale) to working simultaneously with other parties. Rebidding may be required if two or more parties are close. Any subject to financing bids are usually treated sceptically and discounted relative to bids with no financing conditions. After price major terms are agreed parties enter into a binding agreement with a significant deposit at signing. At this point you typically see an announcement drafted by the buyer and often the seller as well saying they have a deal. My guess is that they are still stuck on price and terms but are close.

      • Oh and I forgot to mention external and regulatory approvals will often be required. These are typically done as quickly as possible. I’m guessing but once they have a deal uncle Gary will need to approve it

      • Hey Wayman93, the process sounds like the very limited info I have been exposed to with acquisitions, nothing compared to what you have experienced.

        I’m curious about the comment made by Remington that they felt like they were competing with/bidding against, themselves.

        When I read that, the first thing that popped into my head is that they were asked to submit again, meaning more than they thought was specified at the beginning as a tactic to up the sale price by the sellers. Which to me sounds out of bounds/irregular on something of this size.

        If true, that does seem strange to me. Or is it normal?

        Or maybe they were just spinning a tale, I dunno.

      • Hey Ray Bark,
        As a bidder you are always concerned about whether you are actually competing with someone else or yourself. Investment bankers are notorious for grinding purchasers, but the buyers will have their advisors to manage that. Since the buyer community is small here, you may get some chatter between parties which violates the CA but is hard to prove in court. So Remington may have heard something that soured them. In my experience, the fact that you have the Melnyks still in for 10% should help foster some confidence that you are getting a fair deal as they will be around after sale and if you find any skeletons you have some recourse as they are the selling party. At the end of the day you only have yourself to blame if you overpay!

      • True that Wayman!

      • Wawman93, thanks for the insight. Extremely revealing.

  4. I’ve seen negations drag on for contracts of $100,000 or less.

    This is potentially a BILLION dollar deal, it takes time. It will get done when it gets done.

    The NHL doesn’t want to relocate any NHL team. They do not want to miss out on any expansion fees.

    I think if Gary Bettman had his way, he would rather see a team fold, then he could have an expansion team and their fee.

  5. The Coyotes should go to Quebec, those folks are loyal fans and deserve an NHL club plus there facility is already there! Ottawa should stay put!!!

    • Give the Avs back to Quebec and move the yotes to Denver.

      • Move the Bruins to Hartford and the Coyotes to Boston, Even better!!!

      • Boston never stole another cities team.

    • Relocation fees are less money, period.

      “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” Gary Bettman, cira, everyday of his life.

  6. There are a bunch of wild rumors circulating as to why the sale is being held up and why large financial groups are bailing.

    Something about Astopodolous wanting a 1 year guarantee that he could liquidate and get his money back? What?

    But for me. It all comes back to the NCC. There will be no rink down there. Imagine paying 1 billion dollars. Or close to it. Being told where to build a rink, that you have to fund nearly on your own, no government help–get worked on taxes….oh ya..you don’t OWN the land either.

    It’s a wonder anyone wants to buy the team at all.