Penguins In Dire Straits

Archived from 2003-04 season.

NHL teams

The Pittsburgh Penguins are losing everywhere. The team is last in the NHL's overall standings while losing money with a declining attendance.

To help the situation the owner-player Mario Lemieux won't accept the $5 million raise tentatively promised him by the team's board.

"Rather than wait for us to bring this up, Mario stepped up to key members of our board and said basically, 'My salary is going to be rolled back to where it was last year and the year before. We need to respect the bottom line,'" president Ken Sawyer said.

The Penguins have traded all star-players to cut payroll. Jaromir Jagr, Robert Lang and Alexei Kovalev were sent packing earlier and Martin Straka became the last player to leave with a high salary when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings last Saturday.

"Martin Straka will bring dynamic elements to our lineup with his speed, quickness and skill," Kings vice president and general manager Dave Taylor said. "We think his talents will fit in well with our other top offensive players and we are excited to bring his abilities into that mix."

The 31-year-old Straka is making $4.35 million this season and $4.7 million next season, but the Penguins agreed to pick up half of his salary for the 2004-2005 season.

Despite Straka's salary next season, Pittsburgh is saving about $5 million dollars in the deal.

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