The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of the most successful sports franchises in the world the last decade, at least in terms of on-ice performance. Much of that has to do with bringing in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but some credit has to go to silent owner Ron Burkle, the financial rock behind Mario Lemieux’s ownership group. Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sat down with Burkle for an incredibly fascinating—and incredibly rare—piece, one that stretches from Beverly Hills to Mar-a-Lago (with stops at the White House and a few Pittsburgh parades) and provides some insight into how the organization works. It’s a must-read for any hockey fan, but Penguins’ fanatics should click right away to learn more about their out-of-the-spotlight investor.
- The Buffalo Sabres likely won’t bring back Brian Gionta next season, at least according to the man himself. Gionta told Luke Fox of Sportsnet that the door is almost shut, and even went so far as listing some potential captains. Gionta has held that role since coming to Buffalo in 2014, and actually had a fairly successful season last year with 15 goals and 35 points. That said, he’s now 38 and with a new direction for the club under GM Jason Botterill, it doesn’t seem like there is much of a fit. It will be interesting to see where Gionta, who hopes to play again next year, lands this summer. He still provides some value to a lineup as a secondary scoring threat and veteran presence that has led everywhere he’s been.
- James Mirtle of The Athletic joined TSN 1150 this morning, and was asked about a potential Connor Brown contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brown is the Leafs last remaining free agent, and is in line for a substantial raise after a 20-goal rookie season. Brown isn’t arbitration eligible, but Mirtle points to Tanner Pearson’s four-year $15MM contract as a possible comparable. With big contracts due for Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner in the next two years, along with a potential extension for Jake Gardiner, the Maple Leafs have to be careful with how much money they dole out for the other role players on the team.