On Tuesday, Mike Colligan dropped a three-part article that was born out of another one he originally wrote last May. If you haven't read them, you owe it to yourself to go do so now. (Go ahead. I'll be here when you get back.) Colligan portrays Pens owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle as being on opposite sides of last summer's front office shake up: "If it were up to Burkle, Shero would’ve been overruled and Bylsma would’ve been fired two years ago. If it were up to Lemieux, Shero would probably still be the General Manager of the Penguins today."
On Wednesday, Dejan Kovacevic filled in as guest host on the Mark Madden Show on 105.9 The X. The entire show is podcasted on his site. In the opening segment (about 6:30 in, should you care to listen for yourself, which I always encourage you to do), he talked about possibly trading Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, saying "Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle have absolutely no intention whatsoever of doing anything at that level. Lemieux and Burkle believe not only in those two but in all four of their core [note: Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury are the other two] and this season actually bolstered that. This season proved them right to stick by this core given the way all four of them performed."
Kovacevic reiterated this in his last Friday Insider piece, first referring back to his interview with ownership last May, and then stating the following: "Nothing about the stances of Lemieux and/or Burkle has changed in this regard, I was assured yesterday in no uncertain terms through one well-placed phone call and another very well-placed email. Nothing has changed with the ownership view at all. Not about Crosby, Malkin, Letang or Fleury. As I was further told, the subject has never even come up."
In hour two (around the 9:50 mark), a caller asked about the Lemieux-Burkle relationship, citing in part the Colligan article (though to be fair, the caller didn't mention him by name). Kovacevic first asked if the caller if he seen an article online that indicated anyone had actually communicated with Lemieux or Burkle, then had this to say: "I know these gentlemen. I've spoken to them. They're always on the same page. They're frightening. When you talk to them it's like they're twins. Even in the areas where they might disagree a little bit, there's a very healthy deference. There's a good business-type relationship between Mario and Ron. It's a lot of fun to be around to be honest with you, to watch their dynamic. Mario is very comfortable with letting Ron make some of the bigger calls, which you wouldn't think, given Mario's background in hockey. And Ron, at the same time, when it comes down to a serious hockey issue, will defer to Mario. They have a really good, healthy thought process about this team, particularly about the core."
Also on Wednesday, Rob Rossi did an hour with TribLive Radio. About 11 minutes in, Rossi said, "You think Mario Lemieux wanted to fire Ray Shero? Because anyone who wants to believe that Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle were on the same page last year about that decision simply have not covered Mario Lemieux. Mario Lemieux doesn't have the money. Ron Burkle has the money." Host Ken Laird asked, "So this was Burkle's call?" Rossi answered, "No, we know whose call this was. This call was David Morehouse's. He's running this organization."
You've got Colligan pointing out philosophical differences between Lemieux and Burkle based on past history and saying Lemieux would have kept Shero. Then you've got Kovacevic reporting both guys are on the same page, citing not only his interview from last year, but also very recent phone and e-mail conversations. Finally, you have Rossi saying not only are they not on the same page (and like Colligan, saying Lemieux wanted to keep Shero), but suggesting Lemieux doesn't have much say anymore and David Morehouse has the keys to the castle now. Lots of conflicting information from a variety of sources.
Normally in this space, I'll give you a series of excerpts from something I heard or read, followed by my own brief thoughts on each. Not this week. Why? Because I simply don't know what to make of all of this. What say you? Sound off in the comments below.