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Sens Lose vs. Avs/Senators Ownership/Battle of Ontario

March 19, 2023, 2:11 PM ET [106 Comments]
Sens Writer
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Guest Writer: Matthew Moxley (aka Gord_Wilson_2.0)

Refs Help Avalanche Down Senators, 5-4
Not many games over a season you can knock the refs too much but tonight, one of the most bizarre game-winning goals would be the difference. It is unclear the reason why there was no icing call and then no whistle on a Sogaard cover-up that would result in the Avalanche’s 5th goal in the second period. Literally everyone in the building, including Avalanche players, thought the play would be dead by either call. Unfortunately, you can’t challenge an icing or puck covering, but that didn’t stop DJ Smith from trying. I am not sure why DJ Smith was not more animated when the goal happened.

The strange non-calls and calls would continue in the 3rd with a missed call on Bryram Bowen on Claude Giroux in front of the net that caused Giroux to visit the dressing room briefly. Then, the same two received coincidental minors when Bowen stole Giroux’s stick and then crossed checked Giroux from behind. The cross-check was called but Giroux was called for embellishment. The embellishment call was perplexing, to say the least. However, any way you slice it, Ottawa did shoot themselves in the foot too many times and was ultimately the cause for the loss. The team started slow out of the gate yet again and constantly had to play catch up.

Senators for Sale
With results on the ice currently not going all that great, fans can turn their focus on the upcoming sale of the team. It is reported that there are quite a few bids to purchase the Ottawa Senators. The following parties are rumoured or said to of had submitted proposals for the purchase of the club:

- The Remington Group with the backing of actor Ryan Reynolds
- Montreal Canadiens minority owner Michael Andlauer's group
- Oshawa Generals owner, Rocco Tullio
- Graeme Roustan and First Nations Group
- Toronto billionaire brothers Jeffrey and Michael Kimel
- Harlo Financial Group
- Los Angeles-based businessman, Neko Sparks
- Andre Desmarais group
- Patrick Dovigi of waste disposal company, GFL
- Minto CEO and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment
- Farm Boy co-CEO, Jeff York

This is in no way an official list. I’m sure some groups are missing as 15 or so have been rumoured to have been interested in submitting bids. The NHL won’t confirm how many or what the bid amounts were. It’s reported that the club could net upwards of $800 million to $1 billion in the sale—quite the increase from the $92 million the late Eugene Melnyk bought the team for when he was essentially the only buyer.

The NHL is currently evaluating the first round of bids. While the bid information has not been released, it seems that the Remington Group, Andlauer group, and brothers Jeffrey and Michael Kimel may be the favourites. Betting website, Bodog sportsbook has stated as such.

As reported by Chris Johnson of TSN, should the Graeme Roustan group win the bidding, they would be interested in involving Ryan Reynolds. You have to imagine other groups have a similar mindset. The potential of the involvement of Ryan Reynolds is incredibly exciting. While the sale of the team will be exciting, I don’t think any group with no Reynolds involvement would create the same level of excitement.

If you haven’t had a chance, I really encourage folks to check out the story of Wrexham AFC and the transition the team has taken since Ryan Reynolds came aboard as part owner in November 2020. All the team’s social media followers increased, season tickets doubled, overall game attendance increased, and merchandise sales are off the charts. The team’s on-field product has also improved and as seen in the popular documentary Welcome to Wrexham, management led by the ownership group actively wants to improve the on-field product.

Now obviously, the NHL is entirely different from a soccer team several leagues away from the premiership level, but the reception of the documentary series and online presence of the soccer team, makes you wonder what the possibilities are for the Ottawa Senators, a franchise that has struggled to get respectability and new fans.

In addition to soccer, Ryan Reynolds has almost single handedly made Nickelback ‘cool’ after backing the band in his film Spirited, posted Deadpool videos telling people to stop hating the band and introducing the band at the Junos for their Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction. The man just has a knack for making things cool and engages the more average joes with minimal effort it seems. Celebrity ownership might be a new thing in sports, so why not jump on that wagon and have some fun with it? It might be close to becoming a reality in the nation’s capital.

Battle of Ontario
The Senators will take on the Leafs on Saturday night. The season series is tied at one win apiece. It will be interesting if goaltender Matt Murray will finally face his former team. At the time of writing this blog, the Leafs starter for their Friday night game against the Hurricanes has yet to be named but Ilya Samsonov is projected as the starter which opens up an opportunity for a Murray reunion at the Canadian Tire Centre.

While the Leafs are in a much better position in the standings, the Battle of Ontario will always bring a different energy and lots of good storylines such as:
- Stutzle is out-scoring Austin Matthews in goals and points.
- The Leafs top 5 scorers outscore the Senators by 340 to 315.
- The Senators have 5 players above 50 points while the Leafs have 4.
- Austin Matthew has several commercials on television.
- Zdeno Chara tossed around Bryan McCabe like a rag doll once.

What are your thoughts on the Senator’s ownership and the upcoming game against the Leafs? Be sure to have your say in the comment section and engage.

Thanks for reading!
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