Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Sharks owner Hasso Plattner was adamant that when he mentioned Penguins star Evgeni Malkin’s name during a recent press conference, he was only using the Russian forward as an example and wasn’t tampering.
“We cannot buy the Stanley Cup,” said the billionaire founder of SAP on May 8, before casually mentioning that Malkin wasn’t a player the Sharks could just go out and spend to acquire.
Still, some ears in San Jose may have perked up a bit late last week when Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet (Canada) mentioned that Malkin might not be happy in Pittsburgh. The Penguins were recently eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and may be looking to shake things up this offseason now that it’s been six years since their last Stanley Cup and they fritter away the prime of Sidney Crosby’s career. Malkin is their highest paid player, carrying a $9.5 million salary cap hit through 2021-22.
Malkin’s agent predictably denied that his client was looking to be traded shortly after the report surfaced.
If both Malkin and the Penguins are ready for a change, though, there aren’t too many other teams that could take on Malkin’s salary.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
In virtually every sense, it’s impossible to feel sorry for Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux. One is a billionaire, the other a millionaire many times over. They will become even more filthy rich if/when they sell their controlling interests of the Penguins.
But it is easy to feel sorry for Burkle and Lemieux because their team hasn’t given them what they deserve in championships. They, along with the Rooneys of the Steelers, have been among the best, most stable and most supportive owners in sports, freely spending to produce a winner. But the Penguins have underachieved despite having two of the world’s best players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They play exciting hockey most of the time, have won a lot of regular-season games and have made a lot of money for Burkle and Lemieux with a consecutive games home sellout streak of 377 and the highest local television ratings for a U.S.-based NHL team six years in a row. But they often have come up small in the playoffs. The failure was so bad, at least in management’s eyes, that the front office and coaching staff were overhauled after the 2013-14 season. Nothing changed this spring; the team was eliminated by the New York Rangers in five games in the first round, leading to a sizable financial wallop for the owners because of only two home playoff games.
It seems like a lifetime ago that the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009. Since then, the Los Angeles Kings have won it twice. The Chicago Blackhawks appear set to win for the third time in six years. That should be the Penguins. It’s too bad their stars haven’t performed under the brightest lights the way the Blackhawks stars have.
That has to be one of the reasons Burkle and Lemieux are looking to sell. The value of the franchise — estimated at $565 million last fall by Forbes Magazine — appears ready to dip.
It’s unlikely somebody would buy the Penguins and drive them in a completely different direction. Then again, if the rumours are true, Lemieux and Burkle didn’t always see eye-to-eye, and a new owner may have strong new views very different to those two men.
So again, there’s uncertainly about the Penguins, but a very different kind of uncertainty than other years when bankruptcy reared its ugly head and it seemed almost sure the club was headed out of Pittsburgh.
Then, it was about finding somebody who wanted to own a distressed asset.
Now, it’s about finding somebody with a half-billion dollars burning a hole in their pocket.
-Damien Cox of Sportsnet where you can read more on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
via a Pittsburgh Penguins release,
The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed today that they have engaged Morgan Stanley to oversee a review of their strategic options.
Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle lead the partnership that has owned the Penguins for the past 16 years – a tenure highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 and opening a state-of-the-art arena, CONSOL Energy Center, in 2010.
“We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel,” Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement. “After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options.”
via Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Pittsburgh Penguin owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux have hired Morgan Stanley to explore the possibility of selling some or all of the NHL franchise.
It doesn't mean Burkle and Lemieux are necessarily getting out but they are looking at various options. It's believed Lemieux, perhaps more than Burkle, may have an interest in getting his equity share out of the franchise.
Even if Lemieux and/or Burkle decide to sell, it's believed they have some interest in retaining some involvement or connection with the team.
Morgan Stanley is the same company that facilitated the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Terry Pegula.
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
Obviously, Dan Bylsma was Buffalo's first choice to succeed Ted Nolan as coach of the Sabres….er, well, second choice…..so the matter of draft pick compensation owed to Pittsburgh wasn't about to get in the way.
But what if Bylsma and another candidate had similar credentials, Bylsma was favoured narrowly and the other prospective coach came with no strings attached? And what if the Sabres decided to take a pass on Bylsma as a result? After all, a third-round draft pick is something of value in every other sense. Teams don't give them away with a shrug of the shoulders.
If the issue of compensation meant that Bylsma did not get the Buffalo job, he'd be justifiably upset. The Penguins would still be paying him, and the Sabres, while having to live with their decision, would wonder why they couldn't sign the best coach available free of charge. In that case, I'm guessing Bylsma and every other coach would push for a rule change, and so would the Sabres. That ought to happen, anyway. Thumbs down to draft pick compensation for fired coaches.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The former Hart Trophy winner does have a complete no-trade clause, so he can veto any move, but the Penguins should be listening to all pitches on Malkin.
They need help, and right now. He’s their best bargaining chip.
Evander Kane, a very good winger but no all-star, fetched the Winnipeg Jets top-three defender Tyler Myers, second-line winger Drew Stafford, and two strong prospects in Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux. Surely, Malkin can get more than that.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford should call up St. Louis Blues counterpart Doug Armstrong, who may be looking to shake things up with his core, and ask about T.J. Oshie, David Backes and draft picks for Malkin.
Backes would be the Ryan Kesler-type second-line centre with Oshie on his wing and Patric Hornqvist could still play with Sidney Crosby on the first line. And the Penguins badly need draft picks after giving way too many away in their desire to keep current and play for the Stanley Cup now, acquiring the likes of Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa in their failed recent runs.
Malkin, meanwhile, could play with Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
The 2014-15 Penguins were a mystery from the start.
Less than a week after their season ended in New York, it's still difficult to say, “The Penguins are _____.”
While “____” might be difficult to pinpoint, there are plenty of reasons to explain what they aren't; A Stanley Cup contender.
Here are ten things to examine as the Penguins enter the offseason.
- In 2012, former Rangers coach John Tortorella drew plenty of scorn (and even a $20,000 fine) when he said the Penguins were "one of the most arrogant organizations in the league."
Those seemed like ridiculous comments at the time, especially coming from a blustery windbag like Tortorella. But he couldn't have been more correct.
For the better part of a decade, the Penguins have been the NHL's glamor team. Routinely on national television and involved in high profile events such as outdoor games, they have been the darlings of the league. A lot of that was born simply out of the lucky bounce of a ping-pong ball in 2005. Much of it was justified by Stanley Cup runs in 2008 and 2009.
But that was a long time ago.
Despite having not won the Stanley Cup in six ... let's repeat that ... SIX years, they still portray themselves as the class of the NHL. In contrast, the Kings (albeit with a non-playoff appearance this spring) and the Blackhawks are the class of the NHL.
The Penguins could benefit from some a heaping spoonful of humility.
via Sportsnet (listen to the audio),
Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Freidman joined Boomer & Rhett on the SN960 morning show Monday, and said the Penguins should at least consider trading superstar forward Evgeni Malkin this off-season.
“If you can get two or three pieces including a guy that can play with Crosby, don’t you have to think about it? At what point do you say yeah, we won the Stanley Cup, but that was six years ago? These two guys together make $18.2 million, and we keep losing in the playoffs because we don’t have enough support pieces.
“There are teams that could pull it off. I’m looking at a Florida, a Nashville, a team with young assets that could do this. I’m not saying if you’re the Penguins you should do it 100 per cent, but I’m saying you really have to sit down and think about it.”
Friedman adds that even the Calgary Flames could be in a position to trade for Malkin if in fact both sides were so inclined.
Both Malkin and Crosby share responsibility for the disappointments of the past several years and, even though it is an interesting exercise to discuss what might happen should one of those players be traded, the bottom line is they will only leave Pittsburgh of their own accord given they both possess no-trade/no-movement clauses.
What remains to be seen, though, is whether this is a team that can reclaim glory with their superstars eating up $18.2 million in cap space.
In the coming weeks, expect discussion about whether a Phil Kessel or Dion Phaneuf or any number of skilled but expensive and/or problematic wingers would cure what ails the Pens. These are the storylines that dog every middle of the road team looking for a magic combination. They are the storylines that are now very much the reality of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
-Scott Burnside of ESPN where you can read much more on the Penguins.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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