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Pens' employees safe from layoffs ... for now

| Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, 6:36 p.m.
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Sidney Crosby of the Penguins meets with the media following the NHLPA meeting at Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City. (Getty Images)
The Penguins' Joe Morrow during development camp at Consol Energy Center July 11, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Some good news locally occurred during an otherwise dark period for the NHL.

The Penguins confirmed Sunday to the Tribune-Review that, for the time being, none of their employees will be losing their jobs despite the uncertain status of the 2012-13 season.

Also, the Penguins said that season-ticket holders and sponsors could receive details as soon as Monday regarding the possibility of games being missed.

The NHL locked out players at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday and nothing that has transpired since would indicate a deal is imminent.

The NHLPA and NHL did not meet on Sunday and no plans have been scheduled for more bargaining sessions.

The NHL's website removed all player pictures from its front page when the lockout was triggered Saturday night — all 30 NHL teams did the same on their respective websites — and showcased a message for fans Sunday morning.

The message read:

“Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.

“Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum. While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League's economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players — as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players' Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation — not through rhetoric.

“This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.”

The statement was met with outrage by many fans because, only 24 hours earlier, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly declined an invitation for NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr to have a negotiation session.

The NHLPA sent a message of its own Sunday in a three-minute video that featured Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

The video focused on explaining the NHLPA's position to fans.

The Penguins' other superstar, Evgeni Malkin, made news by officially signing a deal in the KHL. Malkin told the Tribune-Review that he intends to start playing around Sept. 20.

His contract requires Malkin to return to the Penguins immediately when the lockout ends.

Many of the Penguins' promising young players, including left wing Eric Tangradi, are expected to sign temporary American Hockey League deals this week.

Most of the Penguins are expected to practice together this week in Pittsburgh, though no Penguins officials are allowed to be on hand. The Penguins will skate at Southpointe on Monday, though they will not be permitted to use their locker room there, which belongs to the franchise.

Crosby is among those expected to be taking part in the informal workouts.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1975

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