The Pittsburgh Penguins are officially off the market. Team owners Ron Burke and Mario Lemieux reportedly had intentions to sell the team as early as five months ago, but a change of heart will now keep the team under the same ownership group.
— KDKA (@KDKA) October 13, 2016
It’s important to note that there was never a formal process in place to sell the franchise, according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in May, 2016.
“My understanding is there’s no urgency, nothing pressing, no process in place for (the) Penguins to sell the club,” Bettman said, per Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski.
Burke and Lemieux, however, had reportedly enlisted a wealth management firm to explore the sale of the franchise.
The two owners were reportedly looking for upwards of $700 million for their team, and it was reported in September of 2015 that Burke and Lemieux were looking for $750 million for their franchise as well as the development rights to the 28-acres of land that is the Civic Arena site.
The price was certainly a steep one, but it ultimately didn’t matter as both Burke and Lemieux decided to keep their stake in the team.
When speaking to KDKA Morning News, Penguins CEO David Morehouse had this to say on the matter:
We did look at a bunch of different things; one of them included the outright sale of the franchise. We’re not looking at that right now. We couldn’t be luckier to have owners like this in Pittsburgh.
– David Morehouse, Penguins CEO
The Penguins are set to start their 50th season this year. The year will also serve as a title defense, as they are coming off the heels of their second Stanley Cup victory since the 2009 season. With a team still full of top stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Phil Kessel, and two very capable goalies in Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins look primed for another deep playoff run.
Fortunately for Lemieux, he’ll get to watch it as more than a fan once again this year.
Auston Matthews Makes History in NHL Debut
The long-awaited debut of Auston Matthews was even more special than anybody could have possibly imagined. The 19-year-old forward started his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs by scoring a goal on his first shot in the league. Then he scored again on his next shot. And then he scored again on his next shot. That wasn’t a typo; Matthews scored his first career hat-trick on his first three career NHL shots.
Not to be outdone by anybody in history, Matthews was the first player to ever record four goals in an NHL debut.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 13, 2016
Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock said it best following the game:
“We’re all part of history tonight because we’re here,” Babcock said. “A special player.”
Despite making history in his NHL debut, and at 19-years-old no less, Matthews still showed humility, leadership, and a solid take on the situation. Though he had what would be considered a career-game for most players in his first career game, the Leafs still lost the game in overtime. Matthews immediately took all of the blame on the play that led to the game-winning goal, despite the fact that he single-handedly produced the Maple Leafs goals throughout the game.
“That last play was 100 percent my fault,” Matthews said. “Obviously we came here to win and we didn’t get that done. So obviously just a good learning point for myself and the team. We’ll be ready come Saturday.”
It’s not every day that a 19-year-old can have that kind of attitude after scoring four goals in one game, but Matthews really is a special case in many ways.
Odds and Ends
– The Atlanta Gladiators have acquired goaltender Daniel Vladar from their NHL affiliate Boston Bruins