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Poll Question
In which place will the Pens finish this season in the Metropolitan Division?
Last Five Games
Record: 3-2-0
 11-24  CLB  4-2  W
 11-27  WPG  4-3  W
 11-28  COL  3-6  L
 12-1  PHI  2-4  L
 12-4  COL  6-3  W
December, 2006

Gov. Rendell to meet with Mario Lemieux to discuss Plan B (29-Dec-2006)
Governor Ed Rendell will be meeting with Mario Lemieux next week in Pittsburgh to discuss arena financing. The goal is to have a financial plan in place by March 31, 2007. For the full story, head over to http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06363/749815-61.stm.

January 2007 Practice Schedule released (28-Dec-2006)
The Pittsburgh Penguins' January Practice Schedule at Southpointe (yes, Southpointe) is available. The Pens have seven open practice during January.

Pens lose fifth straight (27-Dec-2006)
The Penguins were defeated 4-2 by the Thrashers in front of 17,132 at Mellon Arena for their fifth straight loss and fourth loss in their last six home games. Erik Christensen scored a power play goal late in the first which hit the post and went in off of Kari Lehtonen's skates. Atlanta scored twice in the second to take a 2-1 lead into the third. Ryan Whitney tied the game with a power play goal a minute into the third but Slava Kovlov netted the eventual game-winner at 7:04 and Bobby Holik added a power play empty-netter.

NHL.com highlights:

Pens blanked 3-0 by Devils (26-Dec-2006)
Devils defense. Martin Brodeur. End of story.

Pens fall 4-3 to Thrashers in shootout (22-Dec-2006)
The Penguins rebounded from a 3-1 deficit after two periods but end up losing in a shootout to Atlanta in front of 17,328 at Philips Arena. Pittsburgh's lone goal in the first two periods came shorthanded from (who else) Jordan Staal at 16:36 of the second. The Pens tied the game in the third with a Ryan Malone goal at 4:08 and then a Sidney Crosby goal with 16 seconds to go. After a scoreless overtime, Slava Kozlov and Marian Hossa beat Jocelyn Thibault with their shootout attempts while Erik Christensen and Sidney Crosby failed to score on Kari Lehtonen.

Mad City Mike's Game Grade: http://www.letsgopens.com/scripts/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=129806
NHL.com Highlights:

Statement from Mario Lemieux (21-Dec-2006)
"Recent developments, including Wednesday's decision by the PGCB, and the recent termination of the purchase agreement by Jim Balsillie have convinced us that it is time to take control of our own destiny. Accordingly, starting Thursday, the team is off the market, and we will begin to explore relocation options in cities outside Pennsylvania. After seven years of trying to work out a new arena deal exclusively in Pittsburgh, we need to take into consideration the long-term viability of the team and begin discussions with other cities that may be interested in NHL teams.

As soon as we are no longer restricted by our agreement with Isle of Capri from negotiating an arena deal here, in the next few weeks, we will also begin discussions with local leaders about a viable Pittsburgh arena plan.

We will have no further comment at this time."

Isle of Capri not awarded slots license (20-Dec-2006)
PITG/Majestic Star wins the license.

Plan B time, hopefully...

The first statement from the team can be found at http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/team/press/arts/2212.0.php.

Gaming Board Decision Live Webcast links (20-Dec-2006)

Pens lose 4-1 to Blues (19-Dec-2006)
The Blues snap an eleven game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Pens in front of 17,017 at Mellon Arena. St. Louis scored a mere 44 seconds into the game and got the eventual game-winner at the 5:38 mark of the first. Marc-Andre Fleury gave up 3 goals on 12 shots and was pulled at the 6:01 of the second period. Evgeni Malkin scored the lone Pittsburgh goal on the power play at 4:06 of the third.

Lemieux press conference (19-Dec-2006)
A visibly disappointed Mario Lemieux held a press conference yesterday afternoon to discuss Balsillie dropping his ownership bid and the upcoming slots decision. To view the full press conference, go to http://kdka.com/video/?id=23110@kdka.dayport.com.

Penguins lose to Canadiens 6-3 (16-Dec-2006)
The Canadiens, with a four goal second period, defeat the Penguins 6-3 in front of 21,273 at Centre Bell. Pittsburgh dominated the shots 17-3 in the first but only had a 2-1 advantage on goals from Evgeni Malkin and Alain Nasreddine (his first NHL goal and point) after the opening period. Montreal outshot the Pens 23-6 in the second and led 5-2 after two. The Penguins made it 5-3 with Erik Christensen's fifth goal of the season but Montreal added an empty-netter to close out the scoring.

Pens beat Islanders 7-4; Malone gets hat trick (15-Dec-2006)
The Penguins scoring ways continue as they beat the Islanders 7-4 in front of 17,028 at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh led 6-1 near the middle of the third when the Isles scored three times to make it close but Ryan Malone finished off his hat trick. Sidney Crosby and Mark Recchi both had four point (1g, 3a) nights. Jordan Staal and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Pens. Recchi got his 800th career assist on Malone's second goal. Jocelyn Thibault got his first victory in net this season.

Balsillie backs out of buying the Pens (15-Dec-2006)
Jim Balsillie withdrew his offer to purchase the Penguins. Apparently, he was unable to come to an agreement with the league over conditions of the sale. For more on the story, check out http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06349/746509-100.stm.

LeClair given unconditional release (15-Dec-2006)
John LeClair has been given an unconditional release from the Penguins freeing him to negotiate with any other team.

Penguins crush Flyers 8-4 (14-Dec-2006)
The Penguins soundly defeat the Flyers 8-4 in front of 14,150 at Mellon Arena. Sidney Crosby had a career-high six point night with one goal and five assists. (Mario Lemieux holds the team record with eight points.) Pittsburgh scored their 8 goals on only 29 shots. Sergei Gonchar had a five point night (2g, 3a) and Ryan Malone had a four point night (1g, 3a). The Pens are now 5-0-0 against the Flyers this season outscoring them by a combined 28-11. Nice.

Pens rebound from four-goal deficit to defeat Caps 5-4 in shootout (11-Dec-2006)
Wow! The Penguins spotted the Capitals a four-goal lead but won 5-4 in the shootout in front of 14,793 at Verizon Center. Washington was up by four at the 5:55 mark of the second period after a shorthander and looked to be cruising to an easy, dominant victory but Maxime Talbot finally got the Pens on the board 54 seconds later. Pittsburgh then got two goals from Erik Christensen and Sidney Crosby 35 seconds apart near the end of the second. Evgeni Malkin tied the game early in the third with a highlight-reel diving goal. It was scoreless the rest of regulation and through overtime (which included the Caps enjoying nearly a full two minutes of four-on-three but Marc-Andre Fleury came up with some huge stops). Christensen and Malkin beat Olaf Kolzig in the shootout while only Alexander Ovechkin was able to beat Fleury giving the Pens the win.

Pens beat Thrashers 4-3 in overtime (9-Dec-2006)
The Penguins outshoot Atlanta 43-23 and win 4-3 in overtime in front of 18,687 at Philips Arena. Pittsburgh had three one-goal leads before finally defeating the Thrashers with a Colby Armstrong overtime goal. Sidney Crosby (PPG 14:21 - 1st period), Evgeni Malkin (PPG 8:50 - 2nd per.), and Ryan Whitney (7:22 - 3rd per.) also scored.

Pens lose to Rangers 3-2 in shootout (8-Dec-2006)
The Penguins blow a two goal third period and end up losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Rangers in front of 18,200 at Madison Square Garden. After he was tripped on a breakaway, Nils Ekman opened the scoring with a quick forehand-to-backhand penalty shot goal at 18:38 of the first. Sidney Crosby made it 2-0 with a power play goal at 11:33 of the second. Crosby took the puck from his own blueline and skated through the Rangers defense and beat goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with a quick shot from in close. The Rangers tied the game with two goals coming a minute and a half apart in the third. Blair Betts made it 2-1 with a deflected short-handed goal from in front of the net at 8:43 of the third and Brendan Shanahan tied it at two on the power play at 10:13 with a slapshot from the top of the left circle for his NHL-best 21st of the season. After a scoreless overtime, the game was decided in a shootout. Brendan Shanahan beat Fleury glove-side for the only goal scored in the shootout. All three Penguin attempts (Malkin, Ekman and Crosby) failed.

NHL.com video highlights:

Pens assign LeClair to WBS again (7-Dec-2006)
For the second time in less than a week, the Penguins have assigned John LeClair to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Pens lose 3-2 to Florida (5-Dec-2006)
The Penguins' losing streak hits three as they fall 3-2 to the Panthers in front of 12,511 at Mellon Arena. Eric Christensen opened the scoring with a sharp-angle power play goal at 7:43 of the first. Goals by Gary Roberts and Jozef Stumpel in the first and second periods gave the Florida a 2-1 lead. Sidney Crosby tied the game with a highlight reel power play goal at 10:58 of the third but Olli Jokinen beat a screened Jocelyn Thibault four minutes later on the power play for the game-winner.

NHL.com highlights:

LeClair clears re-entry waivers (4-Dec-2006)
The Post-Gazette is reporting that John LeClair has cleared re-entry waivers.
Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06338/743496-100.stm

Pens call up DuPont and Nasreddine; send down Welch (4-Dec-2006)
The Penguins have called up Micki DuPont and Alain Nasreddine. The team also sent Noah Welch back to WBS.
Source: http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/team/press/arts/2172.0.php

Pens lose pair of games over the weekend (4-Dec-2006)
The Penguins lost back-to-back games to division foes over the weekend. On Friday, the Devils downed the Pens 5-2 and on Saturday, the Islanders beat the Pens 5-3.
NHL.com highlights:
Devils 5 - Pens 2: http://mfile.akamai.com/16532/wmv/nhl.download.akamai.com/16532/wm.nhl.na-central/20062007/02/0373/IH_NHL_2006_2007_373_2_700K_continuous.wmv
Isles 5 - Pens 3: http://mfile.akamai.com/16532/wmv/nhl.download.akamai.com/16532/wm.nhl.na-central/20062007/02/0384/IH_NHL_2006_2007_384_2_700K_continuous.wmv

Roy claimed by Tampa Bay; LeClair placed on re-entry waivers (3-Dec-2006)
Andre Roy was claimed off of waivers by Tampa Bay.

John LeClair has been placed on re-entry waivers which expire Monday at noon.
Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06337/743238-61.stm

Penguins assign LeClair to WBS (3-Dec-2006)
The Penguins have assigned John LeClair to WBS.

Malkin repeats as NHL Rookie o' the Month (1-Dec-2006)
Evgeni Malkin, who led all rookies in scoring with 13 points (7g, 6a) in 14 games, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for November.
Source: http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid=284302&page=NewsPage&service=page

LeClair clears waivers (1-Dec-2006)
TSN.ca is reporting that John LeClair has cleared waivers.
Source: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=186551&hubname=nhl

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