The NHL is Back! Mario' Heart, Arena News and EC Back in the Saddle Again
The Baby Pens in Wilkes Barre-Scranton are definitely going to be challenged in the goal scoring department. I am waging that any trades that the Penguins make will bring back an AHL forward or 2 to help the cause in Wilkes Barre-Scranton.
Mario Lemieux had successful surgery to restore his natural heart rhythm yesterday. Mario stated when he retired that he did not want to take medication for the rest of his life, especially since it is known to cause fatigue etc. Mario said that the procedure sounded like the best avenue, and sought the advise of Toronto Maple Leafs/Team Canada coach Pat Quinn, who had the same surgery in the past. Pat Quinn mentioned feeling better than ever after the surgery and that he wanted to consider it. Penguin team officials released a statement saying that Mario had the procedure and was released from the hospital today. He is home and resting. Mario should be able to resume all normal activities in a short period of time.
Something groundbreaking happened today in regard to the arena/slots proposal situation. County Executive Dan Onorato was interviewed on a morning talk show about the slots proposals and the prospects of a new multipurpose arena. The County Executive still did not come out and endorse the Isle of Capri/Penguins plan, but he did say that he felt the Isle of Capri have set the bar for the other applicants. Mr. Onorato feels that if the Isle of Capri thinks enough revenue will be generated to donate $290 million dollars for a new arena, each applicant should buck up and donate the same amount of money. The County Executive also said that there are no local "plan B" monies available at a county level and he intends to tell Governor Rendell just that in April when the public hearings take place in April. This could be a big step. You could hear passion in Onorato's voice when he talked about the prospects of losing the Penguins. He was also passionate about the fact that the city does need a new building. If Onorato gets behind this thing and continues to encourage other local leaders to do so, it can only be a positive. The gaming board will be hard pressed to make any decision that isn't endorsed by local government, and Onorato said that after he and the Mayor are done fact finding and researching all the proposals they will indeed back one of them. It could definitely be a win-win situation if all proposals are encouraged to pay for a new arena. The Penguins either win the Slots license and get a new building, or lose the license and still get a new building!
Ryan Vandenbussche has had season ending cervical spine surgery. He has not played since December 27.
It also looks like Lyle Odelein has played his last NHL game. He was trying to work his way back from several injuries anyway, but his knee gave out during a physical ability test. He will have season ending surgery to repair the damage.