SBN's very own James Mirtle has covered the unfolding saga in Phoenix all summer long with more clarity and insightful developments than some newspapers or networks could even dream of. While most of it doesn't pertain to the Penguins directly (but don't we all remember those days?), today's installment does relate to the city of Pittsburgh in some degree.
In a recent hearing with multi-bazillionaire Jim Balsillie, the Deposition reveals that Balsillie claims to have had no intention on moving the Penguins out of Pittsburgh.
"I could get to the The Igloo for Pittsburgh faster than I could get to downtown Toronto for a Leafs game from my home in Waterloo."
By plane, of course. Combined with a ride from the airport JB was looking at about an hour commute to the arena.
To Balsillie's credit - maybe - he also claims he did not plan on messing with the tradition and heritage of the team, from Mario to The Igloo itself, yet also claims he would have made motions to potentially get a new arena in place.
The real question here is whether or not you - or more importantly, the league/courts - actually believe his cover story. There has to be some reason why the league is so hesitant to give this guy a team. Perhaps the main concern should be that he wants to buy a team, feign an interest in keeping them in the city of purchase and then offer relocation as the only solution. It has to be somewhere along those lines, seeing as how he's made it evident on many accounts that Hamilton is his tentative venue of choice for an NHL team.
I won't pretend to know more about the hearing than I actually do, but I did find it interesting to read the entire deposition (PDF file available here). It's not jumbled up with all sorts of court wording either. It's a straight forward Q&A with Balsillie. I'd recommend giving it a quick look if you really want to see how the league is handling this guy who insists a huge bankroll is the only qualification for owning a team. Plus, that particular file starts off with a lot of questions regarding his alleged plans for the Pens.