from Sean Gentille of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
There’s a lot to unpack in Dave Molinari’s interview with Penguins owner Ron Burkle — so it goes for guys who speak to the media about as often as Radiohead releases albums — and all of it is worth your time.
How much do you know, really, about the money man behind the NHL’s reigning quasi-dynasty, other than “he’s rich?” Not a ton. Read the entire interview. You won’t learn something; you’ll learn a lot of things....
You’ll also learn, odds are, that you share some fan DNA with a billionaire owner. Did you write off the Penguins when Kris Letang had season-ending neck surgery in April? Burkle sure came close.
“I’m a huge fan of Letang, personally and on the ice,” he told Molinari, “and I thought, ‘Well, without Letang, how are we seriously going to get there?’ So [the 2017 Stanley Cup win] had its own reasons to be incredibly fun and rewarding and exciting.”
Burkle also — shocking as it may be — is a huge fan of Marc-Andre Fleury; he called the former Penguins/current Vegas Golden Knights goalie “more of a stand-up person than you could ever imagine anybody being.”
So, it makes logical sense that a guy worth between $1.5 billion and $3 billion would throw away a fraction of that to keep Fleury around. Every NHL owner got a certain amount of money to allow Vegas into the club, and Burkle said he’d forgo the Penguins share of the expansion fee if it meant Fleury stayed on the roster.
“I wish we could have given the $15 million back and kept him forever,” Burkle said.