"Who lost the Penguins?" could become to Pittsburgh politics what "Who lost China?" was to the national political debate of the 1950s, a source of never-ending, unresolvable bickering.
(from today's P-G "analysis" by James O'Toole.)
O'Toole is right on, though, with the implied claim that ice hockey is now the third rail of Pittsburgh politics. Were a local elected official to write or say something like "NHL hockey is a dying sport that relies on voodoo economics, and no responsible public official will write a $5 check to build an arena to house a team, come what may," the long knives of hockey boosters -- a vocal minority if there ever was one -- would be out in an instant.
Do the Penguins generate money for the region (does the team generate revenue that comes from outside Western PA that adds to the money that is already here)? No. Does the team provide jobs for young people? No. Are the Penguins a major draw for young professionals who might choose to move elsewhere? For the number who fill the Igloo night in and night out, maybe; for most, no again. And even for those drawn to stay by the Pens and by nothing else, why, again, should you feed at the public trough?
Should County Executive Dan Onorato's political future hinge on whether the Penguins stay or go? If he stands up and delivers a statement like the one I invented above, then I'll vote for him again. If he keeps on pandering, he's out. Pittsburgh's future is in doubt, and the Pens are becoming a distraction.