Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins get a new $290M igloo

Our favorite penguins

Wow, our first NHL story in months that doesn’t involve any goons! (Well, except for Georges Laraque.) The Penguins have reached an agreement with the great state of Pennsylvania to to remain in Pittsburgh for the next 30 years.

The Penguins are responsible for $3.8M a year toward construction and another $400k towards capital improvements. The rest of the money will be provided by the state and the owner of the casino group that has been awarded the slot license for the Pittsburgh area. All in all it adds up to a $290M deal, which is better than the $276M arena in Kansas City. On top of that, Lemieux and company get to keep the team in Pittsburgh and not have to rename it the KC Barbeque Ribs or something.

Here’s some reaction from the blogosphere:

Hard Drive Life: “Growing up north of the Pittsburgh area, I’ve been hoping and praying that the Pens would be able to stay. Now, I can confidently go out and buy my Evgeni Malkin jersey and wear it with pride, and not worry that the team is taking flight.

In the words of ex-Pitt mayor Sophie Masloff: “`GUINS WIN!” Actually, all hockey fans do!”

James Mirtle: “I can’t say that I’m particularly surprised, as all along I found it incredibly hard to fathom a team with this much hockey talent, in a market with a recent history of championships and some star power in its ownership group would ever really leave.”

MY KC Penguins: Hmmm…. they might want to change their name to MY KC Predators

The Burgh Report: “This arena, while worth it, will cost us a fortune and we have our government officials to thank. Furthermore, though we have been spared the abject civic humiliation that would have followed losing the team to Kansas City, the mishandling of the arena matter has, nonetheless, seriously damaged the reputation of local government.” Yikes.


[Post-Gazette]: Arena deal keeps Penguins in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Penguins

Dec 27 in Sports History: Mario Returns

In 2000: You’ve always heard of player/managers before, but a player/owner? Well, when your owner happens to be one of the greatest players of all time, it’s not that outrageous. Still, when Mario Lemieux, who had bought the team out of bankruptcy to become the team’s majority owner, joined the Penguins lineup, it was a professional sports first. Lemieux’s no. 66 came down from the rafters, and the Penguins instantly became Stanley Cup contenders. Despite sitting for three-and-a-half years, Lemieux didn’t miss a beat, as he had a goal and two assists to lead the Penguins to a 5-0 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mario kept up the pace for the rest of the year, tallying 76 points in the team’s final 43 games. Lemieux added 17 points in the playoffs to help guide Pittsburgh all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Lemieux retired for good in January of 2006.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Cuban to buy the Penguins?

Imagine it… Mark Cuban strolling out onto the ice in game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals and applauding the Calgary Flames as his Penguins have blown a 2-0 lead in the series… OK, that’s just rubbing salt in the wound. But imagine Mark Cuban as a hockey owner. It would do wonders for the sport.

The NFL has Al Davis. Baseball has George Steinbrennar. Who is currently the highest profile owner in the NHL? Ted Leonsis? He’s hip enough to have his own blog and talk to sports bloggers but he isn’t a household name. Marc Cuban would raise the ante tremendously. Hockey needs an owner like Cuban. And whatever charity the NHL fines go to would benefit as well.

If Cuban (with Dan Marino and a NY financier) can pull off this deal, he’ll be living the dream of many a sports fan. He’s a Pittsburgh native that gets to buy his hometown team. Of course the Steelers will never be for sale but he can do with the Pirates and the Penguins. On second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea.

[MSNBC]: Cuban, Marino teaming up to buy Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins

Super Mario retires again

I realize the Steelers are in the Super Bowl and the Penguins have lost 10 in a row but shouldn’t Mario Lemeiux’s retirement be more than an afterthought on Pittsbugh Post Gazette’s web site? Mario basically saved the Penguins from moving to some place like San Antonio and they have his retirement below the fold. And following his retirement story, is a story about how Lemieux’s retirement “Could hurt ticket sales for next year“. Geez, that’s gratitude for you.

Well, Super Mario, thanks for the memories. We’ll at least recognize your two Stanley Cups for Pittsburgh. Here are some blogs which got it right:

[Brain Flush]: Le Magnifique d’adieu, vous serez manqué
[Hockey Knight]: Merci, Mario!

[Kukla’s Korner]: All Mario
[The Pick Stops Here]: Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux Retires