File this under unexpected: Pittsburgh Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux hired Morgan Stanley as they consider “the possibility of selling some or all of the franchise,” according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari confirms that ownership sought out Morgan Stanley to get the ball rolling on this potential situation. Gary Bettman didn’t address the situation as it broke during tonight’s press conference, according to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski.
Naturally, McKenzie provided the expected caveats. Just because the two are exploring their options doesn’t mean that they’re absolutely set on this.
Interestingly, Lemieux is singled out as possibly being most anxious in getting out, noting that the two may still retain some involvement with the team even if they give up equity shares.
Again, at first, this is a startling situation. Thinking deeper, there have been rumblings about dysfunction in the organization, with some pointing blame all the way to the top.
Perhaps Lemieux and Burkle are losing their taste for the criticism and/or management aspects of running the team? Maybe they’re merely trying to make a ton of money (Lemieux certainly earned his keep in saving the franchise more than once).
Tough to blame “The Magnificent One” if the Penguins approach this sort of price tag, after all:
Interestingly, Mike Colligan wondered about the two Penguins owners’ future with the franchise all the way back in early April in this article for The Hockey Writers.
This could be a blip or just as easily be a huge moment for the franchise. Either way, it’s an interesting situation to watch.