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Pittsburgh is likely gone.

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even Lemieux is saying that Pittsburgh is likely leaving:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=2255699

Once the lease on the Mellon Arena expires in 2007, Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux believes there is only "a slim chance" the franchise will remain in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Lemieux cites the lack of progress toward getting the up-to-date arena for his pessimistic view.

Its sad to see the Pens be in this situation, but assuming the big cities, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle are obvious, any darkhorse canidates to land the Penguins?

I'd say the two Dark Horses in all of this are Winnipeg, and Grand Rapids.

Either way the Pens are moving west, which means someone in the Central division will be moving into the Eastern Conference, My bets are on Columbus, but Detroit or Nashville could just as easily move to the East.

It would actually be easier for the NHL to move the Pens to GR, because Columbus or Nashville for GR would be an easy swap, and playing Detroit 8 times a year would be a HUGE draw for GR, and give it instant ticket sales. I don't think even Kansas City could draw as big a crowd like a Detroit vs GR crowd could.

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Seattle or Portland would be my guess - close to Canada (natural rivalry with the Canucks)

Of course, we could bring back the Golden Seals or the Barons.

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I'd love to see them come to GR, but thinking realistically, I don't see that happening.

The Griffins were supposed to be an NHL team, but the NHL chose Atlanta instead...

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Neither Seattle nor Vegas have an NHL caliber-arena. Hartford lacks an NHL-caliber arena and in sandwiched in between 4 other NHL teams. Portland and KC are the logical choices. Portland is a larger area and and less competition for the sports dollar, besides it has an arena already built and ready.

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Seattle has an Arena, and with the spectre of the Trailblazers moving, I can't see Portland getting a team.

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They will go to Seattle, Houston or Las Vegas.

this could mean that one team moves from the western conference to the eastern coference.......maybe the wings (but columbus would be more likely).

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They will go to Seattle, Houston or Las Vegas.

this could mean that one team moves from the western conference to the eastern coference.......maybe the wings (but columbus would be more likely).

Seattle is too close to Vancouver, one would suffer, and my guess is Seattle would. Houston might be a good destination, but South Eastern Hockey is a joke, and I think the NHL knows this, (Which is why you see so many people rip the NHL for putting teams in georgia and florida)

The most likely destinations are Kansas City, Portland, and probably Winnipeg. I dont know how close Portland is to San Jose, but that might drive them away. Kansas City would have to compete with St. Louis, and I dont know if Missouri is a strong enough hockey state. Winnipeg would be an interesting choice, and with Crosby could keep them in Winnipeg for a long time. (Canadians love Sydney Crosby)

Grand Rapids is interesting because of the relationship with Detroit, and the attendace to GR vs Detroit games would fill the arena many times over. I wouldnt be surprised to see GR vs. Detroit become as heated as Colorado v. Detroit if both teams get good enough, which would be fantastic for the NHL to have such a rivalry.

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Kansas City, Houston, or Winnipeg are the three most likely choices...KC has a new arena and is looking for an NHL franchise (believe it or not), Houston had two bids for an NHL franchise during the most recent round of expansion (and has the new arena where the Rockets play), and Winnipeg has a brand new arena too and would love to get their hands on Sid the Kid.

My first choice would be for them to move to Winnipeg because it'd be great to have the Jets back, but I don't really care where they end up as long as Detroit gets to switch to the Eastern Conference. I'm convinced that if they didn't have to travel to the west coast a bunch of times every season they would have won more Stanley Cups in the last few years. They'd probably get to play Toronto, Montreal, and Boston 4 or 8 times a season too which would be awesome. I'm all for the Pens leaving Pittsburgh.

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At least hockey is making smart moves unlike the last few years. There is no reason hockey should fold in Pitt but remain in Atlanta, NC, Columbus, etc.

I have always considered myself a pretty solid hockey fan, not diehard but solid. I am having a hard time getting back into it.

Any one else exeriencing this? Maybe it is cause I live in Cali now and people don't pay the slightest attention. Go San Diego Gulls!

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My first choice would be for them to move to Winnipeg because it'd be great to have the Jets back, but I don't really care where they end up as long as Detroit gets to switch to the Eastern Conference.

The Jets were my second favorite team when I was a kid.

I'd really love to see Detroit get switched to the East, particularly since it would reignite our rivalry with the Maple Leafs.

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The NHL is not going to put a team in Grand Rapids. It's not going to happen.

They almost did, when the city decided it didnt want a 16,000 seat arena, but a 12,000 seat one, they pulled out, and then the team became the Atlanta Thrashers.

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They almost did, when the city decided it didnt want a 16,000 seat arena, but a 12,000 seat one, they pulled out, and then the team became the Atlanta Thrashers.

And with that 12,000 seat arena, the NHL will not put a team in Grand Rapids.

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Seattle has an Arena, and with the spectre of the Trailblazers moving, I can't see Portland getting a team.

Where have you heard the Blazers are moving?

When Key Arena was renovated it was done with only the NBA in mind. For Hockey it seats only in the low 10,000's with many of those partially obstructed. It's fine for the WHL, but just not NHL quality. The Rose Garden was designed to house an NHL team.

Even if the Blazers did (somehow) move, that would only increase Portland's chances. As it is, Portland is the largest market in the country with only one team. If there were no other team in town, some team would be moving here, soon. Vancouver has the next closest team, which is five hours away. The next closest American team is San Jose, which is ten hours away.

Some speculation can be found here...

http://www.oregonlive.com/weblogs/playbooksandprofits/

Grand Rapids, bless it's heart, is not getting an NHL team. Market and arena size are working against it. Furthermore I suspect Mr. I would fight like hell to keep another NHL team out of Michigan.

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Even if Pittsburgh moves to the West, Columbus will be the team that is moved. there is no way the Winged Wheelers will be moved, because they need to leave some prestige teams in the West. I expect this stupid schedule to be scrapped though, as soon as next season.

Isn't the Mellon arena sorta new?? Or did they just rename their old arena??

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Grand Rapids, bless it's heart, is not getting an NHL team. Market and arena size are working against it. Furthermore I suspect Mr. I would fight like hell to keep another NHL team out of Michigan.

#1, The Van was scaled back because it didnt get an NHL team, I dont know if you've ever been in it, but its got an entire BLANK WALL to work with, they literally just made 3 sides of the arena, in the hope that they could expand later. With expansion, the Van can become NHL-sized.

#2, KC was said as being the best destination behind Houston, Portland third. Woudn't Bill Laurie (a Walmart heir) also fight likehell to keep the Pens away from Missouri?

Where have you heard the Blazers are moving?

#3, The Trailblazers aren't even filling 70% of its arena right now (Look whose dead last), why would a league want to put a team in a city that doesn't even care about it's only team?

Portland just doesn't care. San Antonio is a better market, I think thats why your not heaing about the Marlins moving to Portland, and making San Antonio the main market instead. Its why the Saints aren't packing their bags to Portland, and instead might just end up in SA.

The NHL, and NBA in a lot of ways are very similar, they do better in the smaller markets. if the NBA had a team in Louisville, you'd bet your behind it would be one of the best teams in the league.

Illitch would be STOOPID (intentionally misspelled for added drama) to petition the league to not allow the Pens to move to GR. The money that could be made on GR vs Detroit games would faaar outweigh the loss of about 300 or so people per game from Grand Rapids who attend Red Wings games at the Joe. (which would easily be made up by people in Detroit who cant get to a game normally)

It has a market of over 1.2 million people (yes, 1.2 million)

Why is the city seem so small then? because its area is so small, take a city like Portland, and take out a 40 sq mi chunk, I'll bet its about the same population in that chunk as GR. Portland the city is 87 sq. mi. bigger then Grand Rapids. Now if you took the surrounding 87 sq mi. around Grand Rapids you would get an area that has around 400,000 people, equivalent to many bigger cities in America. Don't tell me GR is small, its not. The fanbase is here, and its about time someone recognized it.

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#1, The Van was scaled back because it didnt get an NHL team, I dont know if you've ever been in it, but its got an entire BLANK WALL to work with, they literally just made 3 sides of the arena, in the hope that they could expand later. With expansion, the Van can become NHL-sized.

#2, KC was said as being the best destination behind Houston, Portland third. Woudn't Bill Laurie (a Walmart heir) also fight likehell to keep the Pens away from Missouri?

#3, The Trailblazers aren't even filling 70% of its arena right now (Look whose dead last), why would a league want to put a team in a city that doesn't even care about it's only team?

Portland just doesn't care. San Antonio is a better market, I think thats why your not heaing about the Marlins moving to Portland, and making San Antonio the main market instead. Its why the Saints aren't packing their bags to Portland, and instead might just end up in SA.

The NHL, and NBA in a lot of ways are very similar, they do better in the smaller markets. if the NBA had a team in Louisville, you'd bet your behind it would be one of the best teams in the league.

Illitch would be STOOPID (intentionally misspelled for added drama) to petition the league to not allow the Pens to move to GR. The money that could be made on GR vs Detroit games would faaar outweigh the loss of about 300 or so people per game from Grand Rapids who attend Red Wings games at the Joe. (which would easily be made up by people in Detroit who cant get to a game normally)

It has a market of over 1.2 million people (yes, 1.2 million)

Why is the city seem so small then? because its area is so small, take a city like Portland, and take out a 40 sq mi chunk, I'll bet its about the same population in that chunk as GR. Portland the city is 87 sq. mi. bigger then Grand Rapids. Now if you took the surrounding 87 sq mi. around Grand Rapids you would get an area that has around 400,000 people, equivalent to many bigger cities in America. Don't tell me GR is small, its not. The fanbase is here, and its about time someone recognized it.

#1 - I have been to The Van, and also to hockey games at the Rose Garden. The Van is great, but the Rose Garden, hands down, is far superior. I've been to about ten current NHL arenas and the Rose Garden is as good as any of them. Plus it's ready, with no additional work, to house NHL Hockey.

#2 - Laurie is looking to sell the Blues. Besides, KC is twice as far away from St. Louis as GR is from the D. Also, how would the Wings stand to make a nickel from a team in GR? They play in front of sold out arenas pretty much wherever they play. Besides, the GR gate would be kept by the GR team. Having a team in West Michigan would cut into the team's fan base in that part of the state, which matters not just at the gate but in TV, Radio, and Merchandise revenue.

#3 - The fact that the Blazers are doing so poorly makes Portland all the more appealing. For years and years The Blazers were one of the most well supported teams in all of pro sports. Then came the "Jail Blazers" and all the crap associated with one of the worst run franchises in sports. It's not that people out here don't care, it's that they don't have anything worth caring about. Given what fans value here, an NHL team would be a huge success.

I like GR, it's a good town with plenty to be proud of, but's it's just not a major league market no matter how you put the numbers together. Maybe that's why there have been no Grand Rapids Marlins, or Grand Rapids Saints rumors either. The metro Portland area had twice the population of metro GR (http://www.demographia.com/db-usmet2000.htm) and it's growing much faster as well.

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Even if Pittsburgh moves to the West, Columbus will be the team that is moved. there is no way the Winged Wheelers will be moved, because they need to leave some prestige teams in the West. I expect this stupid schedule to be scrapped though, as soon as next season.

Isn't the Mellon arena sorta new?? Or did they just rename their old arena??

Mellon Arena is what used to be known as the Igloo or the Pittsburgh Civic Center

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#1 - I have been to The Van, and also to hockey games at the Rose Garden. The Van is great, but the Rose Garden, hands down, is far superior. I've been to about ten current NHL arenas and the Rose Garden is as good as any of them. Plus it's ready, with no additional work, to house NHL Hockey.

You likely got me there, your arena is likely more NHL ready then the Van, but with 2 years to make a choice thats a non issue.

#2 - Laurie is looking to sell the Blues. Besides, KC is twice as far away from St. Louis as GR is from the D. Also, how would the Wings stand to make a nickel from a team in GR? They play in front of sold out arenas pretty much wherever they play. Besides, the GR gate would be kept by the GR team. Having a team in West Michigan would cut into the team's fan base in that part of the state, which matters not just at the gate but in TV, Radio, and Merchandise revenue.

A Grand Rapids vs. Detroit Rivalry is bigger then you think, Detroit makes much more money when Colorado is in town then when Columbus is in town. I would think the GR V Dtown rivalry could equal the Colorado and Detroit rivalry, At least where I grew up (Walker, MI, just outside GR literally on the border) we had more hockey fans attending High School games then Football fans at the field.

#3 - The fact that the Blazers are doing so poorly makes Portland all the more appealing. For years and years The Blazers were one of the most well supported teams in all of pro sports. Then came the "Jail Blazers" and all the crap associated with one of the worst run franchises in sports. It's not that people out here don't care, it's that they don't have anything worth caring about. Given what fans value here, an NHL team would be a huge success.

People would say the same thing about the Lions, the Tigers, and in the mid 90s the Pistons, but they still had fans going to the games. They still put warm tukuses in the seats. Those same type of fans are in Grand Rapids.

I like GR, it's a good town with plenty to be proud of, but's it's just not a major league market no matter how you put the numbers together. Maybe that's why there have been no Grand Rapids Marlins, or Grand Rapids Saints rumors either. The metro Portland area had twice the population of metro GR (http://www.demographia.com/db-usmet2000.htm) and it's growing much faster as well.

If Oklahoma City (Smaller then GR I might add) can get an NBA team, then the NHL should seriously consider Grand Rapids with an NHL team. Your right, GR is too small for the Marlins or Saints, but GR hasnt had the opportunity to host a professional league team yet, so they shouldn't be considered. Portland has the Trailblazers, and right now, they aren't doing so hot, which WILL make leagues think twice about Portland.

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