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Old 12-21-2006, 10:23 AM   #601
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Thank you Gene Collier for some positivity.........

Gene Collier: Penguins will get what they want, but not at desired price
But, in light of Isle of Capri's slot-license loss, local politicians will determine the cost

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

You didn't have to believe in omens to find it a bit odd that on the subway ride toward Mellon Arena yesterday, "I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas" seemed to be squawking in a continuous loop.

This was right at the top of zero hour, when the long-awaited, viciously anticipated casino licensing issue would finally be decided. Twenty minutes later, the Penguins had begun practice on the NHL's oldest living hockey pond, and at precisely 11:27 a.m., the franchise learned it was indeed getting nothing for Christmas.

(Look, it could be worse: You could be the Pirates or their fans -- they're getting Nuttings for Christmas.)

Oh yeah, mommy and daddy are mad, the NHL is mad, even the Rooneys and the NFL are mad, issuing two among the day-long flurry of official tight-lipped statements that included the always vaguely threatening "our options" pill.

Reached later in the day, Steelers president Art Rooney II explained the club's primary disappointment has to do with traffic, parking and infrastructure.

"Our intention is to try to remain involved in the process," Rooney said. "We've been disappointed because we think the decision gave little weight to local interests. We assume there will be an ongoing process in terms of the various approvals that are necessary, and we'll try to protect our interests and the interests of our fans, who need to get in and out of this place."

You'll notice he didn't say that with Isle of Capri not winning the casino license, the city is going straight to hell and the Steelers might just as well move to North Carolina with Bill and Kaye and Lindsay.

Predictably, the maddest bunch were and shall be, for a time, Penguins management and the club's loyal, vocal, emotional, and often enough paranoid fans, including those without media credentials.

When everyone calms down and the bile goes flat, I think you'll see an easily identifiable path now cleared from the huge speculative obstacle that was the licensing issue. By awarding Pittsburgh's sole casino license to the North Shore developer, the state's Gaming board did not put the Penguins on an ice flow and kick them down river.

The Penguins will get what they want, a new arena, at the site they want, adjacent to the old one, by the date they want, 2009. They just won't get it on the terms they want, which was to have Isle of Capri, one of the two losing bidders yesterday, pay for it.

"There's no doubt in my mind this will get done," said mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "If they are as committed as we are, the Penguins should never leave Pittsburgh."

Ravenstahl was standing next to county executive Dan Onorato in the lobby of the old Alcoa building on Sixth Avenue, where Onorato was trying to turn Plan B into Plan A, and Christmas shoppers along William Penn Place peered in from the sidewalk because two guys in dark suits and power ties in front of the TV lights is usually some kind of emergency.

Onorato said he was going straight upstairs to the Sports & Exhibition Authority offices to phone the Penguins as soon as the lights went off, which he did.

They didn't answer.

"Let me reach out to Mario," Onorato said. "I know he's frustrated, saying he's waited [for politicians to get things done] for seven years. But I've only been county executive for three years, and Mayor Ravenstahl's only been here for several months. The mayor and I are going to make it clear we intend to remove the uncertainty."

"The sooner the Penguins are willing to sit down," the mayor said, "the sooner the uncertainty will go away."

Of all the official poses struck yesterday, the Penguins' actually seemed the most measured. Their statement, in lieu of the presumed news conference, was a beacon of diplomacy compared to the hysterical reaction of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who less than a week ago was so certain Pittsburgh had to be the home of the Penguins that prospective owner Jim Balsillie took his Blackberry and went home.

"The decision by the Gaming Commission was terrible news for the Penguins, their fans, and the NHL," read that statement. "The future of this franchise in Pittsburgh is uncertain, and the Penguins now will have to explore all other options, including possible relocation. The NHL will support the Penguins in their endeavors."

Put the gun down, Gary.

Just as war is the failure of diplomacy, state-sponsored gambling is the failure of public policy. If you've got to have it, you'd better make sure that its proven negative impacts are counterbalanced across the broadest possible landscape economically and socially.

It's a tremendously complicated urban-planning question for which a good faith answer was put forth yesterday, and there is undoubtedly room for the Penguins within the solution.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06355/747845-150.stm
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:50 AM   #602
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Well, that asshat Balsillie has thrown his hat back in - gee, what a shock? And I do not, nor have I ever trusted Gary Butt-Head. Even Mark Recchi, who lives here, doesn't have any faith in the process.

Get a good last look, Pens fans, and enjoy Crosby and Malkin while you can. Because the end is near.
Keep the faith XT. I am hoping (praying) that Mario will sell to one of these guys who is 100% committed to keeping our Pens in the Burgh. As for Balsillie - screw him.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_485142.html

Six suitors for Pens are back

Six suitors for the Penguins resurfaced Wednesday after the Isle of Capri Casinos failed to win the sole state license to operate a slots parlor in Pittsburgh.

The suitors include Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who abruptly backed away last week from finalizing a $175 million deal to buy the club.

"All it takes is three motivated parties and a five-minute phone call to get this deal back on track," Balsillie said in an e-mail. "We've fully studied the situation and are prepared to complete the purchase and immediately commence good-faith 'Plan B' negotiations with the government officials to keep the team in Pittsburgh."

Other suitors include New York businessman Andrew Murstein, Massachusetts developer Lawrence Gottesdiener and Toronto brewer Frank D'Angelo and real estate developer Sam Fingold of Hartford, Conn.

"Right now, we are going to quietly sit back and watch and see how this plays out in the next few weeks," Fingold said via e-mail.

Perhaps the most intriguing suitor is Mt. Lebanon native Mark Cuban, a dot-com billionaire who owns the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. Cuban has contacted the NHL about buying the Penguins, a league source told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Cuban has not respond to repeated e-mails.

The Penguins had partnered with Isle of Capri Casinos of St. Louis in the bid for the slots license. The company agreed to build a $290 million arena for the Penguins in the Lower Hill District.

The Penguins' lease at Mellon Arena expires June 30. The club is free to relocate after that date.

Fingold, Murstein, Gottesdiener and Ohio businessman Jim Renacci were involved in previous discussions to purchase the Penguins before Balsillie agreed to buy the club. Renacci, a Ringgold High School graduate, said he is not close to making another bid.

Since 2005, the Mario Lemieux ownership group has reached tentative deals with three men: San Jose, Calif., venture capitalist William "Boots" Del Biaggio III, Fingold and Balsillie.

Last month, Del Biaggio signed a long-term lease with Kansas City's Sprint Center that provides him with exclusive rights to any NHL club that comes to that city.

"I'm still trying to get my arms around the situation to see how Pittsburgh is going to go about selling or not selling (its) team now," Del Biaggio said. "I don't know where the NHL is going to stand on it. Does it stay in Pittsburgh? Are you allowed to move? I think a lot is going to have to play out this week.

"I'm not hopeful right now because I think a lot of people are going to go for it."

Murstein said his group is still interested and restated his pledge to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh. He also said he would be willing to work the local officials on "Plan B."

"It is what I wanted to do months ago," Murstein said of "Plan B." "It is a very fair starting point, and I am confident we could work out a deal along those lines."

Cuban was originally part of Murstein's ownership group. On his personal blog in October, Cuban lamented not doing more to purchase the Penguins.
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:01 AM   #603
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Making a pledge to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh.......for how long?

Plan "B" negotiations......???
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:06 AM   #604
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Making a pledge to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh.......for how long?

Plan "B" negotiations......???
I guess that's what those of us in Pittsburgh will be finding out now won't we?

Since the IOC didn't work out as planned, I guess we will have to look at Plan "B". It's not my first choice, but my first choice was shot down yesterday so now we have to see what our options are at this point in time. I'm now going to sit back and see what Onorato and Ravenstahl are willing to do for our Penguins. Both seem willing to sit down at the table, now let's see if the Penguins are willing to hear them out. I don't have very much faith or trust in either individual, but what else can we do? I still have hope and faith and will continue to do so until I see a moving truck at Mellon Arena.

Last I saw, there isn't a moving truck at Mellon just yet.
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Old 12-21-2006, 01:16 PM   #605
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Lemieux: Penguins will look at other cities
Thursday, December 21, 2006

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Penguins majority owner Mario Lemieux today said the team is no longer for sale and will explore relocating to another city while trying to negotiate a deal for a new arena in Pittsburgh.

"Recent developments, including yesterday's decision by the [Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board], and the recent termination of the purchase agreement by Jim Balsillie have convinced us that it is time to take control of our own destiny. Accordingly, starting today, the team is off the market, and we will begin to explore relocation options in cities outside Pennsylvania," Lemieux said in a prepared statement. "After seven years of trying to work out a new arena deal exclusively in Pittsburgh, we need to take into consideration the long-term viability of the team and begin discussions with other cities that may be interested in NHL teams. As soon as we are no longer restricted by our agreement with Isle of Capri from negotiating an arena deal here, in the next few weeks, we will also begin discussions with local leaders about a viable Pittsburgh arena plan."

The gaming board on Wedenesday awarded Pittsburgh's only stand-alone slots parlor license to PITG Gaming LCC, which will build a casino on the North Side near the Carnegie Science Center. The Penguins had backed a plan by casino operator Isle of Capri, which pledged $290 million for a new arena.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06355/747946-100.stm
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Old 12-21-2006, 02:53 PM   #606
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I guess that's what those of us in Pittsburgh will be finding out now won't we?






I thought they would of had a "Plan B" already in place.
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:03 PM   #607
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They said they don't have a plan B completely in place because the Pens would not discuss till after since they were hoping for Isle of Capri. Please oh please let Mark Cuban buy the Pens or Pens go with Plan B!
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:04 PM   #608
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I thought they would of had a "Plan B" already in place.
That's my point, Plan B does exist..............

Under the backup plan, Majestic Star (PITG) would pay $7.5 million a year for 30 years, while the state would pay $7 million a year. The Pens would have to pay $8.5 million up front and $2.9 million a year, while forgoing $1.1 million a year in naming rights.

That's why I stated I'm going to sit back and see what the Penguins and Ravenstahl/Onorato work out before I completely give up.
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:06 PM   #609
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Do you think Mario would sell to Mark Cuban and what was it Dan Marino? I know Mario wants to keep the team in town.
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:16 PM   #610
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Do you think Mario would sell to Mark Cuban and what was it Dan Marino? I know Mario wants to keep the team in town.
That depends on Cuban's price. If his price is right I'm sure Lemieux would sell. After that, "Plan B" would come into effect. IMO, Lemieux "taking the team off the market" is Lemieux playing stubborn. If the price is right I believe he would sell.

Although I wouldn't hold my breath when it comes to Cuban. As I stated in another post, I honestly believe Mark Cuban enjoys reading his name in the papers and the signs inside PNC and Mellon stating "Mark Cuban Please Save Us" while riding in on his white horse.

On that note, Mike Prisuta broke a story on WDVE this morning stating Mark Cuban has contacted the NHL and stated that he wants to buy the Penguins. Take it for what it's worth. I'll take it as "Wake me when the checked is signed.".
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