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George Zoran
Top Prospect

55 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  09:55:36  Show Profile
The Penguins have suffered quite a few knock-out blows recently including the retirement of both Ziggy Palffy and Mario Lemieux. Coupled with the awful play on the ice, and the coach’s verbal thrashings off of it, you wouldn’t think it could get any worse. Unfortunately for Penguins fans, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Mario Lemieux has stated that there is only a slim chance that the Penguins will remain in Pittsburgh once the lease on the Mellon Arena expires in 2007. Before Lemieux and Palffy retired, reports were that the Penguins were going to lose up to $10 million this season. The only way for them to break even was to make it into the third round of the playoffs, and we all know that isn’t going to happen.

We are told that for the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh, a new arena is necessary. In today’s NHL, the business side of hockey is very important. Almost all arenas seat close to 20,000 fans and are equipped with a number of executive suites that provide the revenue necessary to keep the team’s bottom line healthy. The Mellon arena is 44 years old and the oldest in the NHL. When first built, it seated only 10,500 and has since been renovated a number of times and now seats 17,000. Although I have never been to the Mellon Arena, it certainly sounds like a place to avoid.

Pittsburgh’s last home game against the Washington Capitals was an unusual 8-1 win for the Penguins, who drew a usual crowd of 14,415. Sure the new arena would provide for a more comfortable setting to watch a Penguins game and will spark some interest, but is it the answer? If Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux couldn’t draw in the fans – how is a new arena going to help?

It is common practice in the US for cities to build stadiums for their professional sports teams using public money. The city of Pittsburgh has not expressed any interest in doing so and the team is depending on it’s application to obtain a slot machine license from the state to help pay for the new arena. This may be caught up in red tape for a long time and the Pens are not financially stable enough to play the waiting game.

The imminent departure is bad news for a city that has been home to the Penguins since its NHL debut in 1967. But the question needs to be asked – Do the fans of Pittsburgh deserve a franchise? Sure it is easy to buy tickets for a winning franchise like the Penguins of the early nineties, but when things get bad, a franchise must depend on its fans to continue to show support. Would fans in Winnipeg, Quebec City, Portland, or Houston show more support?

I say bring a seventh franchise to Canada – the people of Winnipeg deserve a second chance.

Have an opinion on George's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts. Anything goes...but keep it clean.
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PickupHockey Pro

364 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  23:59:31  Show Profile
Wasn't that the problem in Winnipeg too, way back when? Didn't they abandon their team for a few years as things hit rock bottom and then come rushing back to try to save the franchise...too little too late. I'm for them going to Winnipeg but your point is a little off.

Here's my summary of what happened in Pittsburgh...

1) They (the fans) got their hopes up when Mario returned only to have them dashed when he continuously got hurt.
2) Say good bye to Jagr.
3) Then the lock out came and dealt the fans/club another blow.
4) Then they got Crosby and built this "on paper" amazing team around him only to keep losing.
5) Then the magnficent one retires...again.
6) Throw in a retiring Palffy and a fired coach and you end up with some fans who have every right to stay home.

I think that the Pens fans were pretty resilient considering that they are in a city with many other professional sport franchise choices. I'm impressed that they can still put 14,000 or 15,000 butts in the stands.

It's time to pull the plug. My hat's off to Mario for his attempt to keep the game in Pitsburgh over the last few years. We could use another team in Cali.
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PickupHockey Veteran

2417 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2006 :  07:46:03  Show Profile
Winnipeg deserves a second chance? Look I'm from Winnipeg and I extremely miss having a team because I was too young to enjoy them when they were around. Are you gonna pay their salary? That was the problem, NO MONEY. This hasn't changed unless a multi-millionaire (which they do have, don't get me wrong) steps out of the shadows and gives the city what they deserve.
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