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Author Topic:   Pittsburgh Penguins - 2006/2007 Season
indiedan
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posted November 02, 2006 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
How about those Penguins? Very exciting to watch. They may single handedly save hockey.

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indiedan
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posted January 03, 2007 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Pittsburgh Penguins mull move to K.C. 27 minutes ago


Mario Lemieux and other members of the Pittsburgh Penguins' ownership group were meeting with Kansas City officials and representatives of the Sprint Center on Wednesday.

The future of the franchise in Pittsburgh has been in doubt after the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission rejected a slot application by Isle of Capri Casinos, which had promised to build a $290 million arena for the Penguins if its bid were approved.

"We are meeting with officials in Kansas City today as part of our effort to explore all of our options regarding a new arena," Lemieux said in a statement on the team's Web site. "We have heard many great things about their new building, which is scheduled to open in time for the start of the 2007-08 NHL season."

Pittsburgh plays in the 45-year-old Mellon Arena, the NHL's oldest venue, and would have to stay there for several more years even if a new arena deal could be reached. The franchise's current lease expires in June.

Meanwhile, Kansas City has the $272 million Sprint Center under construction and set to open in the fall. It is searching for an anchor tenant but has already sold out its 72 luxury suites.

Kansas City is believed to be the first city to extend an invitation for a visit to Lemieux and the Penguins' ownership team. Other cities that have expressed interest in the Penguins are Houston, Winnipeg, Portland, Ore., and possibly Oklahoma City.

Remaining in Pittsburgh is also a possibility.

Lemieux and the ownership group plans to meet with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on Thursday to discuss options.

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fred
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posted January 04, 2007 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Lemieux meets with officials after touring Sprint CenterAssociated Press


PITTSBURGH -- Penguins owner Mario Lemieux emerged from a "very positive" meeting with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and local leaders Thursday night without hinting whether the team will stay or move to Kansas City.


Hours after touring the under-construction Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., Lemieux returned to Pittsburgh for his first in-person meeting with government officials since a plan to fund a $290 million arena with casino money was rejected. Neither side offered specifics about the so-called Plan B deal to build a replacement for Mellon Arena, but Lemieux did not appear disappointed by the talks.


"Hopefully, we'll move forward in the next week or so and really evaluate where we're going. but I'm very pleased with both meetings today," Lemieux said. "I've always been very optimistic [about staying in Pittsburgh]. I've been here for 20-some years. But we have to evaluate all of our options and that's why we went to Kansas City to look at what they had to offer."


Rendell did not talk to reporters after the meeting, but Allegheny County chief executive Dan Onorato said, "It was very productive, very productive. ... We're going to continue to negotiate and, hopefully, the next time you hear from all of us we can give you details."


Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said another meeting with the Penguins has not been planned, but that discussions would continue. Both sides promised they would not negotiate in public.


Lemieux, one of most popular figures in Pittsburgh sports history, does not want to move the franchise -- and the NHL does not want to abandon the city -- unless there is no other option. But after seven unsuccessful years seeking a new arena, he is negotiating from a position of strength because of Kansas City's strong bid.


The Penguins, one of pro sports' hottest properties because of young stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, would pay no construction costs or rent in Kansas City. They would also have the opportunity to become partners in the building, and thus gain access to all revenues streams, for $27 million.


The initial Plan B proposal in Pittsburgh, made last March, called for the Penguins to pay $8.5 million up front, plus about $4 million per year. However, the Kansas City offer is all but certain to force Pittsburgh to offer a more lucrative deal. Neither side would say if the Penguins were offered a better deal Thursday.


Earlier in the day, Lemieux, billionaire partner Ron Burkle and team president Ken Sawyer toured the $276 million Sprint Center, which is due to open in October without an anchor major sports team tenant.


William "Boots" Del Biaggio III, a San Jose, Calif.-based venture capitalist and Lemieux acquaintance who nearly bought the Penguins in 2005, is expected to buy the team if it moves to Kansas City. He and Lemieux are partners in a minor league hockey team.


"We are not trying to steal the Penguins," Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, said. "We have been very respectful of their process. We understand that this is Pittsburgh's to lose, and we respect that."


Leiweke expects a decision quickly. Lemieux is free to move the team after the Penguins' Mellon Arena lease expires in June.


"We will know within 30 days whether they are going to work out their issues in Pittsburgh and get an arena built, or whether they will ask the NHL for permission to move the team to Kansas City," Leiweke said.


The NHL has given every sign it wants the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh, where it has played to nearly 94 percent of capacity this season, as long as a new arena is built. Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie had a deal in place to buy the team last month, only to pull out on the apparent closing date when the NHL told him he couldn't relocate the team.


That pullout came only days before a plan in which Isle of Capri Casinos would build a $290 million arena for free if granted the license to build a downtown slots machine parlor was turned down by the state gaming board. It chose one of two competing bids, by Detroit businessman Don Barden, who has agreed to pay $7.5 million a year toward a new arena but won't totally fund it.


Kansas City had an NHL team from 1974-76, but it moved because of low attendance. That team spent six years in Denver as the Colorado Rockies, but moved to New Jersey and was renamed the Devils in 1982. Kansas City also lost an NBA team it shared with Omaha, Neb., to Sacramento, Calif.

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NEWSFLASH WINTER INTERN
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posted February 01, 2007 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH WINTER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH WINTER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message
Official: City, Pens could announce deal by Friday

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ESPN.com news services

A state senator on the board that would oversee a new arena in Pittsburgh says a deal to keep the Penguins in the Steel City could be announced by Friday.

"I'm hearing that a deal could be made any day, which makes me suspect it's all about crossing the T's and dotting the I's," state Sen. Wayne Fontana told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I don't know that there are any major hurdles left. It's all just little things."


Fontana, who sits on the Allegheny County Sports & Exposition Authority, told the newspaper that Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has been in continuing conversations with Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle about the deal.
Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he expected a deal would be announced soon. But he had no comment Wednesday on Fontana's statement, the Tribune-Review said. Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and the Penguins also declined to comment, the newspaper reported.

"People involved directly in the negotiations are not discussing anything publicly," Dick Skrinjar, Ravenstahl's spokesman, told the Tribune-Review.

The Penguins were expected to tell officials in Kansas City, Mo., by Feb. 4 whether they would move into new Sprint Center starting next season. The Sprint Center has offered the Penguins free rent and revenue-sharing if they move to Kansas City, which briefly was home to an NHL expansion franchise in the mid-1970s. The Penguins have long sought a replacement for Mellon Arena, the oldest building in the NHL.
Talks between local and state government and the Penguins hit a snag when the team balked at sharing parking revenue and redevelopment rights for the Mellon Arena site with Casino developer Don Barden, who was awarded a state slot machine license and has pledged to help build a new arena. The Penguins had backed another casino developer, Isle of Capri, which had pledged to entirely fund a new arena.

Fontana told the Tribune-Review the two sides have found "a middle ground" over the parking revenues and development rights.

Barden has agreed to pay $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward a new arena, with the state adding $7 million a year. And Rendell has said the Penguins' contribution to the project -- originally pegged at $8.5 million in up-front funds, $2.9 million a year and forgoing $1.16 million a year in naming rights -- has been "significantly" reduced.


The Penguins have not yet sought permission from the National Hockey League to move, the Tribune-Review reported.

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indiedan
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posted February 08, 2007 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Young Penguins coming of age much faster than expected

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
February 7, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Nashville coach Barry Trotz doesn't want to play Pittsburgh in a couple of years. The way these growing-up-fast Penguins are performing, maybe he should amend that to a couple of months.

With their four top players all 22 or younger -- including NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby, who is all of 19 -- the Penguins anticipated going through a transition season before developing into one of the league's better teams.

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Right now, that learning curve looks more like a straightaway.

After beating Trotz's NHL-leading Predators 4-1 on Tuesday, the Penguins are 9-0-2 in their last 11 games and are closing in on the top four in the Eastern Conference. Unless there's an unanticipated breakdown in their final 29 games, the Penguins are well on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since Mario Lemieux's comeback season in 2001.

"I'd hate to play them two years from now," Trotz said. "They're building something very special in Pittsburgh, and the city should be pretty excited."

No doubt their fans would be more revved up if that building plan included a new arena -- the team and the state are negotiating how to pay for a replacement for 45-year-old Mellon Arena, but an agreement has not yet been reached.

But the Penguins' improvement has been so rapid, and young stars such as Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury are playing so consistently well, it's easy to overlook their shabby surroundings.

With a 27-17-9 record and 63 points, the Penguins have surpassed the 58 points they had during a fourth consecutive Atlantic Division last-place finish last season. They had no more than 69 points in any of those four seasons.

"We're happy with the way we're playing," Crosby said. "We're doing a great job of competing right now."

With four players drafted No. 2 or higher since 2003, the Penguins are long since removed from those days a few years back when they were dumping players such as Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka and Alex Kovalev for financial reasons.

Crosby, arguably the league's best player, has 86 points in 50 games and is on pace to have the most points of any NHL scoring leader since Lemieux's 161 in 1996. Joe Thornton's 125 points last season are the most since then.

Just as Jagr complemented Lemieux in the prime of his career, Crosby has plenty of help.

Malkin, the No. 2 pick in 2004 behind Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, has a team-high 26 goals going into Thursday's game at Philadelphia. Jordan Staal, the 18-year-old brother of Carolina star Eric Staal and the No. 2 pick last year, is one goal away from 20 -- and he wasn't even expected to make the team when training camp began.

"It's amazing what he's doing," teammate Mark Recchi said. "I think he's gone beyond all expectations."

The biggest difference in this team from the Penguins who had won only 12 games at this time a year ago is the 22-year-old Fleury, the No. 1 draft pick in 2003.

More mature, confident and in control, he has been the Penguins' best player during their current hot streak and is on the verge of becoming one of the league's top goalies. His 2.74 goals-against average is down half a goal a game from last season, and he has all but two of Pittsburgh's 27 wins.

"He's been the difference in so many games," Crosby said of Fleury, who is 11-1-3 in his last 15 starts.

Helping bring all of this youth together is the 39-year-old Recchi, who starred for the Penguins' first Stanley Cup-winning team in 1991 before later playing for the Maple Leafs and Flyers. He re-signed with the Penguins this season after being dealt by Pittsburgh to eventual Stanley Cup champion Carolina late last season.

To Recchi, these Penguins lack only the overall depth of those Hurricanes -- and new general manager Ray Shero could address that by the Feb. 27 trading deadline.

"The guys are learning how to win in this league, doing the right things," said Recchi, who recently had 10 points in three games. "We're starting to know what it takes to win. The effort is there, and now we're doing smart things every night. We're getting the puck deep when we have to, we're winning battles.

"If you continue to do that, and use the speed and skill we have, we're going to be tough to play against," he said.

Coach Michel Therrien's structured system was played by many of the current Penguins at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL, where the one-time Montreal Canadiens coach was working until replacing Eddie Olczyk in Pittsburgh 14 months ago.

As Therrien constantly rolls four lines, the system relies on controlling the puck as much as possible, playing intelligently at both ends of the ice, taking plenty of shots on the power play and always being properly positioned in the defensive end.

"Everybody has bought into it, what we're trying to do, and everybody feels good in their roles," Recchi said. "Everybody is getting minutes, and everybody feels part of it. We're growing as a team right now."

The Predators aren't the only team wondering what the Penguins might become very soon.

"You knew that, with all that talent, it was just a matter of time," Washington's Chris Clark said.

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fred
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posted March 05, 2007 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Penguins declare arena talks impasse, move closer to leaving

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
March 5, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Penguins moved a step closer to leaving Pittsburgh, declaring on Monday an impasse in their new arena negotiations with state and local leaders and saying they will actively pursue relocation.

The breakdown in arena talks came only three days after Gov. Ed Rendell said he felt an agreement was close. It also increases the possibility the Penguins will be playing in Kansas City next season.


"We have made a single-minded effort to bring this new arena to a successful conclusion and keep the team in Pittsburgh," owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said in a letter to Rendell and local government officials. "... Our good-faith efforts have not produced a deal, however, and have only added more anxiety to what we thought at best was a risky proposition for us moving forward."

In the letter, Lemieux and Burkle put the blame for the impasse on government officials, arguing they agreed to pay $120 million over 30 years to help build a $290 million arena and cover construction cost overruns, yet still have not reached a deal.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman became involved in the talks several weeks ago, but also has been unable to finalize an agreement.

"We can do no more," Lemieux, the longtime Penguins star, and Burkle said in the letter.

The Penguins had an agreement with Isle of Capri Casinos to build the arena at no expense to the team or taxpayers in exchange for a license to build a Pittsburgh slots casino, but a state board in December chose a competing bid.

On Jan. 4, the team, state, city and Allegheny County began negotiating an alternate arena funding plan. At the time, government officials were asking for the team to contribute about $4.1 million per year, but lowered that to $2.8 million during the first round of negotiations.

During subsequent talks, the Penguins agreed to up that annual contribution to $3.6 million, plus $400,000 in operating expenses, after the state said there was a funding shortfall. However, the two sides still could not close a deal.

Kansas City has offered its nearly completed Sprint Center to the Penguins rent-free. The Penguins would also gain revenue from development projects around the arena.

However, the Penguins would be leaving one of the NHL's strongest U.S. markets for a smaller one that lost an NHL team in 1976 after only two seasons because of lack of support. The Penguins' home attendance and local TV ratings are among the strongest of the 24 United States-based franchises.

When Lemieux's group bought the team in federal bankruptcy court in 1999, the Hall of Fame player said he did so to ensure the team's existence in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins' hardball negotiating stance comes with the team contending for a playoff spot for the first time in six years. A youthful team led by NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby and rookies Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal has become one of the league's prime attendance draws.

At home, the Penguins are playing to nearly 96 percent of arena capacity for the season. All of their remaining nine home games are expected to attract standing-room-only crowds.

The Penguins also have begun selling season tickets for the 2007-08 season in Pittsburgh, even though they have not agreed to play there another season.

"They're tough negotiators," Rendell said.


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fred
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From:Redmond, WA
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posted March 05, 2007 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Penguins declare arena talks impasse, move closer to leaving

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
March 5, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Penguins moved a step closer to leaving Pittsburgh, declaring on Monday an impasse in their new arena negotiations with state and local leaders and saying they will actively pursue relocation.

The breakdown in arena talks came only three days after Gov. Ed Rendell said he felt an agreement was close. It also increases the possibility the Penguins will be playing in Kansas City next season.


"We have made a single-minded effort to bring this new arena to a successful conclusion and keep the team in Pittsburgh," owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said in a letter to Rendell and local government officials. "... Our good-faith efforts have not produced a deal, however, and have only added more anxiety to what we thought at best was a risky proposition for us moving forward."

In the letter, Lemieux and Burkle put the blame for the impasse on government officials, arguing they agreed to pay $120 million over 30 years to help build a $290 million arena and cover construction cost overruns, yet still have not reached a deal.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman became involved in the talks several weeks ago, but also has been unable to finalize an agreement.

"We can do no more," Lemieux, the longtime Penguins star, and Burkle said in the letter.

The Penguins had an agreement with Isle of Capri Casinos to build the arena at no expense to the team or taxpayers in exchange for a license to build a Pittsburgh slots casino, but a state board in December chose a competing bid.

On Jan. 4, the team, state, city and Allegheny County began negotiating an alternate arena funding plan. At the time, government officials were asking for the team to contribute about $4.1 million per year, but lowered that to $2.8 million during the first round of negotiations.

During subsequent talks, the Penguins agreed to up that annual contribution to $3.6 million, plus $400,000 in operating expenses, after the state said there was a funding shortfall. However, the two sides still could not close a deal.

Kansas City has offered its nearly completed Sprint Center to the Penguins rent-free. The Penguins would also gain revenue from development projects around the arena.

However, the Penguins would be leaving one of the NHL's strongest U.S. markets for a smaller one that lost an NHL team in 1976 after only two seasons because of lack of support. The Penguins' home attendance and local TV ratings are among the strongest of the 24 United States-based franchises.

When Lemieux's group bought the team in federal bankruptcy court in 1999, the Hall of Fame player said he did so to ensure the team's existence in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins' hardball negotiating stance comes with the team contending for a playoff spot for the first time in six years. A youthful team led by NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby and rookies Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal has become one of the league's prime attendance draws.

At home, the Penguins are playing to nearly 96 percent of arena capacity for the season. All of their remaining nine home games are expected to attract standing-room-only crowds.

The Penguins also have begun selling season tickets for the 2007-08 season in Pittsburgh, even though they have not agreed to play there another season.

"They're tough negotiators," Rendell said.


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