Now I know a couple blog posts ago I came out and directly told Kansas City to back off of my Pittsburgh Penguins. After pondering for a couple weeks, I would like to take that statement back. I was somewhat wrong.
Even though Kansas City has been actively pursuing the Pittsburgh Penguins, I can't really say that I blame them. They are quickly emerging in to possibly the best team ever. Dynasty has been hinted, as well it should be. The main pieces of this franchise are 18,19,20 and 22. That's not too bad. Kansas City does need a new tenant for their new Sprint Center and the Penguins would fit perfectly. Much like Denver getting the Avalanche, Kansas City wouldn't have to suffer through the losing seasons that expansion cities do. The Penguins would be an instant success in Kansas City. They say they would have the arena sold out for the next five seasons, and seriously who's to say the Penguins don't win the Stanley Cup in some if not all of those years. This team has to potential to be that good, that quick.
I do feel bad though, because from everything I have heard in the past couple days, it sounds like Kansas City has been used. If there are some true hockey fans in the Kansas City I apologize for that. It seems like the Penguins were out of negotiation options with the state of Pennsylvania, so they used you. They also tried to use Las Vegas, but their mayor would have none of it. The Penguins knew that negotiations for a new arena would be difficult, especially after the slots license went to the wrong person.
You see at the beggining of the season, the Penguins were for sale. If you remember Mr. Blackberry himself, Jim Bassillie was planning to purchase the teams. He was very hush hush about what would happen to the team if the slots license did not go to the Isle of Capri. All he would say was the Penguins needed a new arena. Well in December, right before the slots license was awarded, the deal fell through. Nobody came out right away and said why. They still really haven't. With Gov. Rendell not backing the Isle of Capri plan which included the new arena, it wasn't very difficult to predict what was about to happen. What nobody expected was Gary Bettman stating that it would be difficult to move the Penguins if there was a Plan - B in place. Mr. Basillie was willing to give Pittsburgh a chance if they had the new arena, but was very interested in bringing the team to Kansas City. Gary Bettman was a roadblock with just that statement.
Well the Barden group got the slots license, not surprising since their lawyer used to work with Mr. Rendell. The state and the local community tried to hurry and devise a plan B. Insert Kansas City now. Kansas City has only been used for leverage and for a better deal from the state. Pennsylvania tried to get a minor extension for the Penguins to stay at the Mellon Arena. They laughed at that. They have been waiting patiently since 1998 to get their new home. They have all the power now, and they have used it. They used the impasse last Monday, an imagine that they had a new negotiating meeting by Thursday. Negotiations went alright, and there is another date planned for this Wednesday.
No matter how you want to look at this its wrong. Its wrong that Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh have made the Penguins wait for this. Its wrong that the Penguins used Kansas City and other cities in an attempt to get their way. There isn't a new arena yet, but it seems like this week could be the week. If that happens all I can say is thanks and that I am sorry to the people of Kansas City. I do not view your city as a minor league city. I also believe that your city could support the NHL better then some of the cities now. I'm sorry you were used like a pawn in the game of chess, but it's truely not the Penguins fault. The fault needs to be blamed on a Gov. from the Philadelphia area, because lets be 100% honest here. If the Flyers needed a new arena in 1998, and were on the brink of leaving Philadelphia, I can't help but think that the arena would have been approved and built in 1998 with taxpayer dollars. Pittsburgh has constantly had to take a backseat to Philadelphia. So once again, if this arena gets done, Thank You KansaS City and just blame Rendell and Philadelphia.