The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch made an appearance on yesterday's HockeyCentral at Noon, shortly after the 26 minute mark, the conversation turned to those "rumblings" of Eugene Melnyk having the team on the market.
Without rehashing a post which documented the recent history of Senators sale rumours, let's get right into it. I've clipped the audio which is embedded at the bottom of the post, and here's the transcript:
Millard: Bruce, there were rumblings that people were in looking at the books of the Ottawa Senators.
Kypreos: Those rumblings came from Doug MacLean.
MacLean: Yeah, so, and I stand by my source that somebody was in and looked at the books as far as buying a minority piece of the team.
Kypreos: And that’s the big difference here: are they for sale or are they looking at ways to find a minority buyer or find somebody to come in?
MacLean: And what do you think?
Kypreos: I don’t think they are for sale in terms of Eugene Melnyk unloading them or looking for someone to take the majority (share) of the team.
MacLean: I will stand by my source that somebody was in and looked at the books and decided not to get involved.
Kypreos: That’s not what you said…
MacLean: That’s what I said.
Kypreos: I think you were maybe leaning towards that they were for sale…
MacLean: I have heard for two years they were for sale. Bruce, I keep hearing that they’re for sale from lots of people that have a pretty good idea. But that’s fine, if Eugene says they’re not, he’s the owner. But I know that people were in and looked at the books, I know that.
Millard: Comment from Bruce Garrioch?
Garrioch: Chris Stevenson and I asked Eugene one time about taking on a partner and his answer was, ‘I’m not that kind of guy,’ so I don’t know how receptive he even would be to a partner. If you look at the ownership structure in Ottawa, he’s the only guy. He says they’re not for sale, and he says, ‘maybe you should find something else to talk about Doug.’...I’m kidding.
MacLean: Look, I’ve been told it a few times and that’s fine. If Eugene disagrees, and he certainly would know a lot better than I would. So either the people that looked at the books are lying or whatever, so let us leave it at that.
Kypreos: What is happening is that he’s refinancing. I think that would be a safe term to use for the Ottawa Senators.
MacLean: I don’t know that.
So we learn: a) the Senators were the team MacLean was alluding to, and b) MacLean’s source(s) is/are the people who looked at the books; but c) if Melnyk sells, it will not be the majority share of the team, and d) Garrioch believes Melnyk has no appetite to share ownership, and finally e) Kypreos thinks "refinancing" is a fair characteriziation of what's going on.
More details to be sure, but nothing definitive.
I do not want to pin this stuff solely on MacLean/Kypreos because in conversation with HNIC's Elliotte Friedman on Monday night (go listen to the podcast now!), Creech asked if he'd heard similar reports:
"There have been rumours about that for a long time. I've heard rumours about Eugene Melnyk needing to sell the Senators for a couple years now. Some of it has always been...it's not necessarily by choice. As you guys know, if you've followed Melnyk's history in the markets, there's always been some question as to how well he's actually doing? So you hear that from time to time - oh Eugene Melnyk is in some trouble with Biovail - he's going to need to sell."
He went on to drew a parallel between whispers of a sale and the boy who cried wolf; eventually, you just stop paying much attention until you see some hard proof.
The more of this story is revealed, the more I tend to give credence to Scott's theory that a valuation of the Senators and Scotiabank Place seems a good chance of being a requirement in Melnyk's divorce proceedings.