Big Lead Sports Bar



by A.J.
from 105.9 The X

At the recent groundbreaking ceremony for Pittsburgh’s new arena, Mario Lemieux was quoted as saying that he never had any intentions of moving the Penguins out of Pittsburgh.

"We had to do a few things to put pressure on the city and the state, but our goal was to remain here in Pittsburgh all the way. Those trips to Kansas City and Vegas and other cities was just to go and have a nice dinner, and come back."

In the wake of that revelation, some are choosing to voice their displeasure with the man who has been hockey’s savior in this city more than a few times over the years. Fans are upset that the Penguins ownership group used our emotions as a bargaining chip to land the new arena deal. I’ll be the first to admit, the thought of winters without the Penguins caused me a few restless nights. Those were dark times watching other cities such as Kansas City court our team. It was like watching your girlfriend ride off in Jeff Reed’s Escalade. In your heart you believe she won’t really do anything… but dammit man, you’ve seen the pictures and know what happens in these situations.

As is the case when emotions run high, we can tend to think with our ass instead of our brain. Once again Mario finds himself facing undeserved criticism from the ungrateful and ignorant. He’s no stranger to it. He’s heard it plenty of times during his career. “Mario is a selfish puck hog”. “Mario is a diver and a whiner”. “Mario is only trying to come back to sell tickets, he doesn’t care about the game.” Now it’s, “Mario only used us to get his arena.”

Of course you realize that all of those comments are 100% B.S. Mario wasn’t a self gratifying puck hog, he was the best player in the game. He wasn’t a diver so much as victim of gratuitous nightly muggings and was able to campaign for the more open style of today’s “New NHL”. Mario’s comeback was anything but selfish. With the franchise on the verge of financial ruin, Sixty-six strapped them on one more time because he believed (and proved) that he could contribute both on the ice and at the gate. Most importantly, Mario did not “use us”.

What Lemieux’s ruse did was organize and inspire us. The threat of losing our team caused us to rise up and take a stand. We wrote our politicians, we spoke our minds, we signed petitions, and we supported our team both financially and spiritually. None of us would have gone to the extent that we did had the possibility of our team leaving town not been there to light our collective fire. The powers that be heard us and were able to finally give us the building that our community needed.

Personally, the whole arena deal caused me to take a deeper look into local politics for the first time in my life. While I’ve always questioned much of what happens in this fair city, it is only now that I realize it is because many times our local government’s decision making process is seemingly based on nepotism and corruption rather than common sense. Mario realized this much sooner in life than I did and concluded that if you can’t beat them – join them.

So big deal, Mario threw us one of his patented dekes and faked us out of our jock straps like we were Andy Moog. The important thing is we got what we all wanted; a new arena, a guarantee that the Penguins will always be in Pittsburgh, and only a year after that was delivered, an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. You know what? It was all worth a few sleepless nights.

It could be worse; we could be Kansas City right now.


Scott said...

no one's upset about what mario did. that article quoted a grand total of three fans.

this was a non-story created by the trib because they don't like mario. frankly, it's not even worth discussing.

godohoky said...

This justs make me realize how much of genius Mario is on and off the ice. I'd let him use me any day!

godohoky said...
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