**time machine noises**
It’s October 2006 and the Pittsburgh Penguins are preparing to begin the 2006-07 season and expectations are high with Sidney Crosby coming off a 102 point rookie season and Evgeni Malkin in town for his rookie campaign after absconding from Russia to join the team.
Throw in No. 2 overall pick Jordan Staal making the team out of training camp and Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes and fans were feeling pretty good about the Penguins after a few seasons in the NHL basement.
Although things were looking up on the ice, the same could not be said for what was going on behind the scenes off the ice. Like it had for so many years before, the threat of relocation hovered over the Penguins franchise and at times the situation looked dire.
In need of a new arena to replace the outdated Mellon Arena that had been the Penguins home since its first game in 1967, the franchise had nearly exhausted all options and a move away from Pittsburgh was becoming ever more real.
One final path to a new arena was through a casino deal that was being developed for the city. One of the casino bidders attached the promise of a new arena to their proposal, but in the end, a competing bid was selected and the Penguins were back to square one.
In the weeks following the casino announcement, the future of the Penguins in Pittsburgh remained in the balance until one faithful day in March when it all came together.
After meeting in Philadelphia of all places, the Penguins and the state of Pennsylvania came to an agreement on a new arena that would keep the team in Pittsburgh for the next 30 years.
Prior to puck drop against the Buffalo Sabres on March 13, 2007, in front of a joyous Mellon Arena crowd, team owner Mario Lemieux made the announcement that fans had long been waiting for. The Penguins were going to remain in Pittsburgh right where they belong.
The rest, as they say, is history. About a month later from that moment the Penguins qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and even more success was soon to follow. Three more Stanley Cup banners now hang from the new building that sits directly across the street from the team’s old home.
Needless to say, this is not only one of the most important developments to come from the Crosby/Malkin era, but one of the most significant moments in franchise history.