Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Penguins 5 - Sabres 4(SO): Victory In More Ways than One!

It was a great night for Pittsburgh hockey fans.

First, it was announced that a new deal was struck to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the next 30 years.
Mario Lemieux strode onto the ice amid a standing ovation and thunderous applause and gave the Pittsburgh Penguins faithful exactly what they wanted.

No, it wasn't a Stanley Cup, although young stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal might deliver that soon enough.

The Hall of Fame co-owner of the Penguins delivered the word that the oldest arena in the NHL will soon be replaced by a gleaming, multimillion dollar facility. And the franchise will be staying in Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future.

"Tonight, I'm proud to announce that your Pittsburgh Penguins will remain right here in Pittsburgh, where they belong," Lemieux said, standing in the spotlight under a scoreboard with his name, "Mario," in lights.

Just hours earlier, the Penguins and government officials said they had ended months of difficult negotiations and agreed on a $290 million plan to build a new arena.

Under the deal, the government agreed to waive upfront money from the team, while the Penguins will receive $10.5 million in compensation for delays. The sides also agreed to share responsibility for some cost overruns.

At a news conference, Lemieux said keeping the team in Pittsburgh was always his goal.

"Well, this is a great day for hockey," he said
Indeed, and then Sidney Crosby and the boys went out and beat the Sabres 5-4 in a fun-filled shootout.

El Cros was obviously pumped up for the game as he finished with 1 goal, 2 assists, and the shootout winner in a low 18:21 of ice time. It didn't help that Crosby was overly-enthusiasic and finished with 6 minutes in penalties.

Well, a win is a win, and the fans in Pittsburgh can breathe a hugh sigh of relief.

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