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Arena negotiations to resume next week

Gov. Ed Rendell and Penguins co-owner Ronald Burkle resumed their arena negotiations late Tuesday by talking over the phone, Rendell said this morning.

The two men agreed to talk again next week and could meet in person, Rendell said. He spoke after appearing at an Oakland event related to his health care reform proposal.

Rendell said the conversation with Burkle went well, adding that he does not think public officials will have to resort to asking the National Hockey League to block the Penguins from moving to a new hometown. Rendell said yesterday that he would go to the league -- if necessary -- to keep the team in Pittsburgh.

Burkle and Rendell have met in Pittsburgh two times to talk about how to pay for a new Uptown arena. The most recent meeting broke off last Thursday over issues related to development rights for the Mellon Arena site and the sharing of parking revenues for a new arena.

Separately, the Penguins are not expected to visit Houston today. Officials in that city said they had been approached by Penguins officials about a possible visit.

Team co-owner Mario Lemieux is in Dallas for today's NHL All-Star Game. Top league officials have made it clear they hope to find a way of keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

"The league unanimously wants to see Pittsburgh stay exactly where it is and I think that we'll explore every possible avenue to make that happen," said Lou Lamoriello, General Manager of the New Jersey Devils.

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