Rumor: Melnyk estate has botched the sale of the Ottawa Senators.
Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press  

Rumor: Melnyk estate has botched the sale of the Ottawa Senators.

New reports coming out after a quiet weekend appear to suggest that the Melnyk estate has tossed away much of their leverage.

Jonathan Larivee

The ghost of Eugene Melnyk may still be haunting the Ottawa Senators.

For months now we have been hearing about the sale process surrounding the sale of the Ottawa Senators, and quite frankly most of the stuff coming out of that process has been negative. We've heard complaints of just about everything you could imagine during the process, and we have even seen active agents within the National Hockey League describe the process as a "shit show."

In spite of this the NHL, through NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, has consistently denied that there is anything unusual about the sale process involving the Senators. In spite of those denials, last week Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos declared that he was the latest bidder pulling out of the process which is a huge deal considering that Apostolopoulos was believed to have submitted the top bid for the purchase of the Senators.

Now reports are coming out indicating that the NHL itself has now put pressure on the Melnyk estate to finalize the sale, something that would appear to lend credence to the reports that this process has been a debacle.

From Postmedia:

League sources told Postmedia Sunday not only have officials with the National Hockey League served notice to representatives of the Melnyk estate they want this transaction completed as soon as possible, the three suitors left in the mix are pushing for a decision.

To make matters worse, Senators insider Bruce Garrioch is also reporting that Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer is now pushing for a sale to be finalized in lieu of Apostolopoulos pulling out, with Andlauer no doubt sensing that the Melnyk estate lost considerable leverage when Apostolopoulos pulled out.

In fact the situation is so unfortunate for the Senators that Garrioch has wondered aloud about the Melnyk estate potentially attempting to lure Apostolopoulos back into the process. How they would do so is anyone's guess, but there no longer seems to be any doubt about the fact that this process has not been nearly as smooth as the NHL would like you to believe.

Update: Garrioch is now also reporting that the remaining bidders feel the "tables have turned" a further indication that the Melnyk estate may have lost much of its leverage with big bidders pulling out throughout the process.