— The Mystery of how Fenway Sports Group would react to missing playoffs: FSG bought the Penguins to just add to their portfolio. The group had been on the hunt to buy an NBA or NHL team and the Penguins going for sale fell into their lap. From that sense, no one should be shocked it’s been a very distant ownership group. Will they eventually take interest and bring their own people in? No one is certain when or if that will come. It’s a mystery ownership from whether there’s any true interest of taking on a hands-on approach. Would missing the playoffs combined with the current fan outrage finally force their hand from a PR standpoint? Again, it’s a mystery to many. What we do know is this: President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke continues to be very well liked by ownership and leaned on, sources say. Burke is the eyes in the sky for Thomas Werner who’s the only individual that truly checks in on the team from time to time with any interest. And one thing Burke has consistently done is go to bat for Ron Hextall who as of a few weeks ago was said to be on good footing and not considered to be on the hot seat by any means. The guess from those close to the situation is Burke will be the driving force on any GM decision that is made or not made at seasons end. Another question is Burke will be 68 years old next season, still enjoys living in Toronto, could go back to Sportsnet in a heartbeat, so who knows how much longer he wants to keep going especially with a potential sinking ship, though, word for a while is he’s been committed to honoring the five To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

Crosby would have final say on Mike Sullivan’s Future?: Whether it’s an eventual first-round exit or missing the playoffs, there’s enough sample size this season and past seasons to question if Mike Sullivan is the right coach for the next phase of this team. One thing Sullivan has done is dig into his ways. From poor usage, deployment, to being dead set on not changing the defensive structure that is losing games, to not embracing young players, there’s a lot of evidence that it’s somebody else’s turn behind the bench to try to get the most out of the final Sidney Crosby years. And we’re potentially looking at maybe just a max of two years left of Sidney Crosby in a Penguins uniform who has two seasons left on his contract and it can’t be ruled out that he ends his career elsewhere after his current contract ends. FSG clearly tipped their hand with how they feel about Sullivan this past off-season by extending him through the 2026-2027 season with a salary of around $5.75 million per season when there was no reason to extend him with two seasons already left on his current deal. Even though there isn’t much care from the ownership group, they view Sullivan, a Boston guy as a rockstar in his field. Hypothetically, though, if FSG was swayed on cleaning house and looked at the Bruins as an example of what bringing in a new coach can do for a stale club, league sources contend a coaching change would have to be embraced To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!


Source: Penguin minority owners favored Utah Jazz owner bid for team in 2021: Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette had some juicy details this week about a fallout between Mario Lemieux and the Fenway Sports Group as Lemieux has not attended a Penguins game this season. There’s been push back that the situation is being a bit overblown, nonetheless, Lemieux and Ron Burkle were sued last year by a group of former Penguins minority owners for accelerating the sale to FSG without going through proper legal measures pertaining to the minority ownership group. Legally the lawsuit had merit and was eventually settled by Lemieux and Burkle. Cook also states in the column Lemieux and Burkle thought they were getting a larger stake from FSG, though, if true that’s on Lemieux and Burkle. The question at hand is what happened to all this initial talk of Lemieux staying involved?

Despite a press release at the time of the sale from FSG that Mario Lemieux would actively stay involved with the hockey club, those close to the situation believe a rift or not, that talk at the time was nothing more than a PR statement. Lemieux moving on with his life was always going to be the likely route after retaining around just 3% To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”! The hirings of Brian Burke and Ron Hextall in 2021 was all about leaving what Lemieux thought was the organization in good hands for the present and future. The real rift here was between Lemieux/Burkle and a few prominent minority owners. Indications are a sale to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith who had a very competitive owner was favored by many inside the former ownership group but one belief is a personal grudge between To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”! Michael To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!