This is a very exciting time to be a Penguins fan...the team is very close to securing it's first playoff spot in 6 years, they are guarenteed to be in Pittsburgh for at least the next 30 years, and they are the most exciting story in the league.
It has been a fun ride up to this point...fasten your seatbelts, it looks as if it is going to get even better!
The Badger must be smiling down from the heavens today. His quote is one of the most appropriate on this day...the day that Pittsburgh kept their Penguins.
This has been one of the most emotional rides that I have ever been on, and I am sure that every person who follows this team will agree. The ups, the downs and of course the in-betweens have taken us all from tears to joy. It was a painstaking process and I am sure that we are not the only ones who are glad it is over. The politicians can get out of the hot seat. Mario Lemieux has piece of mind knowing that his legacy is secure. Ron Burkle can start deciding if he wants to stay in the hockey business and Kansas City can get to lobbying for the league's first expansion franchise in 7 years.
There was a lot of mudslinging from each camp throughout this process, but when things looked their darkest, the sides got themselves to the meeting table and hammered out a deal. The two sides will participate in a joint 5 p.m. press conference at the Sen. John Heinz Regional History Center to officially announce the deal.
Interesting to think how close the sides must have been...they just needed a final nudge in the right direction.
I am still not sure how to react, I don't think that this has sunken in yet. I have often stated that losing this team would be like a death in the family...and to have avoided that is an amazing feeling. Our team was on death row and the proverbial phone from the governor's office rang at the 11th hour with its pardon.
Thanks to everyone who had faith in the rumor I reported yesterday...and for your support in general. I really appreciate it.
The electricity is building throughout town and you can really feel the region's excitement. Reading your comments here and scanning other message boards for reaction has been a lot of fun. It has been a huge thrill to see the enthusiasm and pure joy that has come with this news. Pittsburgh is showing itself to be a great hockey town and its fans are carrying the torch.
Tune in later for post game feedback, reaction and a wrap-up of today’s events...
For some reason the newest firewall installed on my home PC did not allow me to log in...anyway, here is the latest...
Interesting Idea - Public Ownership of the Penguins
A former Democratic Allegheny County Commissioner, Mike Dawida and a local business man, Phil Isaly are going to pursue a court injunction barring any move to another city by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Their goal, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, is to prove that the team should be required to give the people of Pittsburgh the right of first refusal. They feel that since the public has invested tax dollars in the team, citing the $10 million that went towards putting in club seating 10 years ago as an example, that they should be given the opportunity to purchase the team before they be allowed to move.
The plan would not be unlike the stock offering in Green Bay that allowed the public to purchase the Packers. There is no doubt that the shares would sell like hot cakes, but two pitfalls stand in the way. The group will have to convince a judge to consider the public a stakeholder in the team based on the tax dollar contribution and they would also have to find a way to circumvent NHL bylaw. There is a rule in place prohibiting public ownership of a NHL franchise.
This situation isn't likely to come to fruition, but I thought it was interesting enough to pass along.
Though we are far from out of the woods on this cold Pittsburgh night, I think we got a very positive sign tonight. I know that there was optimism after the initial talks back on January 4th, but this seemed different..."substantial progress" is a very good sign. I think that getting Gary Bettman involved in the actual meeting was a great idea, he is a good tactician in these situations. His presence will bring these two sides close enough together to make the deal happen. Continue to keep those fingers crossed Pittsburgh!
Here is a little of Big Georges, since we haven't gotten to see him in action just yet. Could the bruisers of the East be dodging him?
Update: 11:30pm - Additional Talks Next Wednesday
A joint statement has been issued. Progress made during the almost 4 hour meeting tonight and the two sides agreed to talk again on Wednesday. I will keep it coming guys...keep those fingers crossed!
Was reported on KDKA and WTAE...WPXI missed the boat as usual in Pittsburgh.
Reports are saying that the groups are still meeting and have been since just after 7:00pm. The longer the meeting lasts, the more optimistic I become. I will be following throughout the night and will report anything breaking.
Pens drop shootout. What were they doing, none of the three Penguins shooters did anything resembling what they have done during their latest shootout winning streak. Christensen shot instead of deking, I know that Marty is wise, but he has beaten some pretty good guys with dekes. Malkin and Sidney also chose to shoot...Marty giveth and he taketh away. They didn't have a chance. He was not going to be beaten by a shot after giving up the earlier goal to Ouellet. I feel that they would have been better served going with what was working...
Malkin finally scores his 30th goal. I am sure that he is glad to have gotten that "monkey out of his back." He looked like a new player after getting the goal, making plays in both ends. He could have finished with a couple more on the night.
Play got quite feisty during the final 3:00 minutes. The referees put the whistles away and almost lost control of the contest. Many hits were being thrown out and penalties ignored...both ways.
All in all the game was a good indicator of what we can expect the rest of the way. The teams are starting to fight and claw for every point and the playoff atmosphere is kicking in.
The Penguins are now 8 pts behind New Jersey in the Atlantic race.
With his next victory, Marc Andre Fleury will have the second highest single season victory total for a Penguin goaltender. Number one on the list: Tom Barrasso.
The phrase made popular in the 1986 Europe hit is upon us. All of the players in the arena game are arriving in Philadelphia and getting ready to face off in the final battle to save the PITTSBURGH Penguins. Pittsburgh being the operative term...
The past two days have been very difficult for the fans of the Penguins...they are the ones who are set to be hurt the most by any move. While the team's brass was meeting with officials in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the people of Pittsburgh sat on pins and needles waiting for some kind of response from local government. News finally leaked of a meeting that would take place in Philadelphia at an undisclosed location. The Governor was not the happiest camper, but still remained cautiously optimistic that a deal could be brokered during a final sit down.
From the sound of the news that has come out over the past couple days, the competition may have gotten a bit stiffer. It is believed that Kansas City has significantly increased their offer to the Penguins, so much so that they cancelled any possible visits to Houston.
I was asked several times over the last couple days what I thought would happen...will they stay or will they go? I still think that they are going to stay, placing odds at about 60-40. However, if the Penguins have their so-called feather ruffled by the Governor as they did in a prior meeting, talks could breakdown quickly.
Everything that has happened up until this point was a necessary evil. These are the steps of the negotiation. There is take and give, good and bad, pressure to the brink and then hopefully a resolution.
Today reminds me an awful lot of the final days before the lockout ended. Granted, that was a long process that resulted in the loss of a season, but I have the same feeling in my gut. A feeling that says we will not be let down. One that says we will find out that we have our team signed, sealed and delivered for the next 30 years.
Something else that came to mind today, I remember sitting in the stands in 1999 watching as Jaromir Jagr came back from a horrible groin injury to tie and then win a playoff game against the New Jersey Devils. There was a very big chance that it would be the last game ever played in Pittsburgh. The team's future was very much in doubt. Two people were involved in the process that saved the team that year...those same two men are part of the group involved in tonight's meeting: Mario Lemieux and Gary Bettman.
I still believe that Mario wants to keep the team in Pittsburgh and I think that he will do what is needed to broker this deal. Gary Bettman also would like this team to stay right where it is; it is the poster child for HIS new NHL. One that has a lot of home grown, drafted talent...and one that will be able to control the future of those players for at least 7 years under the new CBA. Pittsburgh is one of the biggest draws in the league on television and at the gate, the league doesn't want them buried in Kansas City or anywhere else. A move is not out of the question, but it will be a last resort.
I am hoping that by tomorrow at this time we can start to reminisce about the last time we almost lost the Penguins and look ahead to winning multiple Stanley Cups in our region's new Multi Purpose Arena! Imagine how great that new building could look with that Mario Lemieux statue looking on from in front of the building.
Keep your fingers crossed Penguins fans...it is going to be a long night.
Coach Michel Therrien lost his father today. Gerry Therrien died at home in Montreal after a long illness. He was 77 years old.
Assistants Mike Yeo and Andre Savard will coach the team in Therrien's absence.
Nils Ekman will return to the press box in favor of Michel Ouellet. I think Nils will ultimately regain a regular spot in the line-up, but he may not have been completely back conditioning-wise. He does have the capability of playing on the top lines and I look for him to do so as soon as he is able to get his wind.
Marc Andre Fleury will make the start tonight.
Jordan Staal set and NHL Rookie Record by recording his 7th short handed goal of the year Tuesday night in Ottawa. The record was previously held by Gerry Minor of Vancouver in 1980-81 and tied by John Madden of New Jersey in 1999-00.
Newly acquired defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski could play tonight.