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Bob McKenzie

TSN Hockey Insider

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Pittsburgh Penguin owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux have hired Morgan Stanley to explore the possibility of selling some or all of the NHL franchise.

It doesn't mean Burkle and Lemieux are necessarily getting out but they are looking at various options. It's believed Lemieux, perhaps more than Burkle, may have an interest in getting his equity share out of the ā€ˇfranchise.

The team released a statement on Wednesday evening to discuss the process.

"We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel," Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement. "After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options."

Even if Lemieux and/or Burkle decide to sell, they have some interest in retaining some involvement or connection with the team.

"Our goal all along was to solidify the franchise both on and off the ice," Lemieux said. "Our star players are signed to long-term contracts, they've got a deep and passionate base to support them, and I believe the Penguins are well-positioned for the future. Regardless of what happens, I plan on staying involved with the team in some capacity, and Ron and I plan to retain an ownership stake."

Morgan Stanley is the same company that facilitated the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Terry Pegula.