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Daly says NHL is evaluating first round of bids for Sens

Ottawa Senators celebrate Ottawa Senators celebrate - The Canadian Press

The sale process for the Ottawa Senators is well under way, as the National Hockey League has confirmed that it is going over a number of bids for the team in the nation's capital. 

"We've received the first round of bids," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said at the NHL general managers' meetings in Florida on Monday. "They're being evaluated."

Daly, however, would not discuss anything regarding a potential final sale process yet for the Senators. "(It's) too soon," he explained. "Obviously, working and refining those bids will take a couple of weeks and then we'll see where we are."

NHL sources confirmed to Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia last week that the deadline set by New York-based banker Galatioto Sports Partners (GSP) for the NHL team's first round of bids was on Monday, March 6, with multiple groups given access to view the Senators' financials, as well as the memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission to build a new rink at LeBreton Flats just west of downtown along the Ottawa River.

Garrioch added that the bidders reportedly include Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds with The Remington Group led by Markham-based developer Christopher Bratty, Montreal Canadiens minority owner Michael Andlauer's group (which includes Windsor-based developer Rocco Tullio, and Burlington-based Paul and Michael Paletta), Toronto billionaires Jeffrey and Michael Kimel, as well as owners of the Harlo Financial Group.

The team announced last November – eight months after the passing of owner Eugene Melnyk – that it was officially up for sale and that any new ownership would not be allowed to move the franchise out of the city. Los Angeles-based magazine Sportico valued the Senators at $655 million last October, while Daly estimated last month the sale price will be more than $800 million and could eclipse $1 billion.

Day 1 of the NHL general managers' meetings saw other important topics covered, including player safety when it comes to lacerations and cut-resistant equipment, the potential for increased coach's challenges (for "friendly-fire" high-sticking calls and puck over glass penalties) and examining fights after clean hits.

Lacerations and a possible mandate for cut-resistant equipment have become a main topic of conversation, with more than 100 man-games lost over the last couple of seasons from just four player injuries. Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane suffered a wrist laceration on Nov. 8 against the Tampa Bay Lightning when he was cut by a skate blade and placed on long-term injured reserve after surgery. He was out of the lineup for just over two months.

While the NHL would like to get to a point where cut-resistant equipment is mandated for all new players entering the league, talks are ongoing with the NHLPA.

"Lacerations are an important issue for our hockey operations staff and our player health and safety," said Daly. "(It's) something we're working on with the Players' Association and what we call our Protective Equipment Sub-Committee.

"I think of the issues we're talking about this morning, it's probably the most pressing one."