North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Guess who’s after the Penguins?

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Q: What do Mark Cuban, Dan Marino, the city of Winnipeg and the Isle of Capri have in common?

A: They’re all after the Pittsburgh Penguins

For a team that’s at the bottom of the league, both in standings and revenue, that’s a lot of potential buyers – and that’s just the ones who have stated it openly (Frank D’Angelo, for example, have been suprisingly quiet – but nobody would be surprised if tried to buy the team).

So, then… Who will end up with the team? Mario Lemieux has said that he will not sell to anybody who will move the team out of Pittsburgh, but at the same time, the Penguins don’t have a new arena on the horizon and are among the least profitable teams in the league – would you blame anyone for wanting to move them?

Either way, I’ve taken the load to myself and crunched some non-existent numbers to bring you chances that each person/ownership group/city/etc will end up with the Penguins:

Mark Cuban – One would assume that Mark Cuban would like to move the Pens to Texas (Houston, perhaps) where there is better potential for profit. One also assumes that Cuban would prefer to have more control then any other owner would like to have – and that Cuban’s odds on charging onto the ice are about 50/50 for any fight at all. But that’s not what will happen: At heart, Mark is still a Pittsburgh homer and he wants to keep the team in the P-town and since his running of the Mavericks is a day-to-day thing, I would be surprised if he attends more then a handful of Pens games. Either way, he and his investment group have more then enough assets to keep the team afloat in the short term. I’ll say 66%, 75% if he temps Mario with a cashier’s check.

Winnipeg, Manitoba – They have the history, a new arena (the MTS Centre) and a devoted fanbase. Plus, under the new CBA Agreements (Salary Cap, Revenue Sharing) they would be able to compete with larger cities again. The one thing they don’t have is, er, an ownership group. Other then the GM of the Moose once making an off-hand comment about giving Mario a call, nobody from Winnipeg has proposed moving the team there. So it’s about 27% (and that’s me being unconditionally generous) until someone steps up.

Quebec City, Quebec – No stadium, no ownership, not much of a fanbase in the first place (even back in the 1980s they had trouble selling tickets) means no chance at all; barely even 0%.

Isle of Capri – One of the more serious bidders, the Isle of Capri (which is not, as you may think, the island that sells pants to Raphael Nadal, but is actually a casino) has not only make repeated offers to buy the team, but to also build a new arena – if the city also allows them to put in slot machines. Will the NHL allow gambling in it’s arenas? Thus far, Gary Bettman has been quiet – but I would suspect that after the recent “Operation Slap Shot” by the New Jersey Police Department scandal, the NHL will not be especially keen on the Isle getting full ownership. I’m going to say that if the city of Pittsburgh goes ahead with the Slots, then there’s a 75% chance. If they don’t, it’s not even 0%.

So, then, who will end up with the “Team with the brightest future in hockey”?

Two words: Isiah Thomas.

When he blows his chance with the Knicks (you know this will happen) he’ll be looking for the first thing that comes across – and when he hears that the Pens are for sale, he’ll immediately enact this three step plan:
– Trade Sidney Crosby and a first round pick for Vincent Lecavalier, Sean Burke and Martin St. Louis
– trade a second round pick and Mark-Andre Fleury for Jean-Sabastien Aubin and the rights to Anson Carter
– Sign free agents Alexandre Daigle, Luke Richardson and Eric Lindros

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Written by M.

June 28, 2006 at 12:22 am

Posted in Hockey, nhl, penguins, pittsburgh

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