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Sunday, December 11, 2005
Lemieux: 'Slim chance' Penguins remain in Pittsburgh

ESPN.com news services

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.

"I think we're really running out of time," Lemieux told the paper, his tone laced with frustration. "We probably ran out of time already. It's been unfortunate that the city and the county haven't been willing to work with us over the last two or three years."

With potential suitors in Kansas City and possibly Houston on the horizon, the Penguins' board of directors will meet this week with the long-term outlook of the team a likely topic of discussion.

"We'll sit down with everybody [to] understand what's at stake with our investment, and what's best for the franchise," Lemieux told the Post-Gazette.

Even if a new arena is approved, the process of building a new facility takes approximately three years.

"By the time we'd get the arena built, it's going to be another four or five years," Lemieux told the paper. "Can we afford to stay here for another four or five years and assume the losses? I'm not sure."