December 20, 2006. [ blogspot ]
These days we are speculating about the Pens possible playoff lineup in December. Seven years ago, we weren't sure they'd even be around.
We posted this a few years ago, and probably will post is every year on this date.
We also just found this in an old email. It is an exchange with the new Mayor of Pittsburgh:
A recap of one of the dark days…
October 9, 2006
That is when the Penguins had that bizarre impromptu press conference in the bowels of Mellon announcing Jim Balsille as the new prospective owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Real quick. It's really bizarre to see how much life has changed since then. BlackBerrys dominated smartphone existence and RIM was in your mouth. Not so much anymore.
And then he said Holy Shit:
December 16, 2006
This is the day things went spiraling out of control. From Shelly Anderson:
Mr. Sawyer declined to speculate whether the current ownership, which includes Hall of Fame player Mario Lemieux, might reconsider selling the team if Isle of Capri gets the license, thus settling the team's future.
"Today's development was unfortunate," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "If the Isle of Capri is not granted the license on Wednesday, then an already difficult and volatile situation will be aggravated. It is imperative that the Penguins have a new arena on economic terms that make sense for the franchise for the team to remain in Pittsburgh."
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said that if the NHL put conditions on the sale that would make it harder to move the team from Pittsburgh, "I think that's good news for Penguins fans and good news for the city."
A couple of things about this.
-There was never really any explanation on what happened between the NHL and Balsillie.
- Whenever you say Gary Bettman sucks, go back and think about this article.
- A few days before Balsillie withdrew his offer, he met with officials in Harrisburg. Did they forewarn him?
From this point on, Penguin fans were inundated with rumors and prospective buyers. LGP looked like the Bay of Pigs.
DECEMBER 19, 2006
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will make the decision on which company gets the license and announce that decision Wednesday. Commissioner Gary Bettman is rooting for the Isle of Capri because a new rink, especially a debt-free one, will help the Penguins' franchise value skyrocket. As commissioner, that is his primary job: help owners increase their franchises' values. Salary caps and free housing will do that just about every time.
December 20, 2006
This was the age before Twitter. For breaking news, you were refreshing the PG and Trib's sites. You were checking LGP. KDKA live-streamed the press conference. It was 11:30am when the news came.
You can read the LGP thread and watch the reaction. It starts on page 24. But read the whole thing. It will make your stomach hurt. A sample:
PITG GAMING GETS THE LICENSE was our post written by our friend and blog forefather Chris A. That was the first time we had ever gotten over 50 comments.
Penguin fans froze. Right where you were. You fucking froze. Solely from a sports-fan perspective, this was the worst thing ever. Life is bigger than sports, but this was a huge part of our lives. And we thought it was over.
Obviously the sum of all fears never occurred. The Pens agreed to a new arena in the spring of 2007. But for a few days in December and March, the earth stood still.