a dinky replica. Are they nuts?), I will reprint (without permission) the
letter from Bob Johnson that was read over the PA at the end of the ceremony.
"I walked in the arena 1 year ago and noticed that there were no championship
banners here. Well, tonight it is great to have these championship banners
raised for the fans of Pittsburgh, signifying that we have reached the top of
"This is the start of a winning tradition for the organization. Martha and I,
along with my family, are watching via satellite at our home in Colorado
"Thank you, to all the fans and people of Pittsburgh for your letters and
prayers. I know your hearts are with us. We want you to know that our hearts
are there with you."
While the banners were raised on Saturday, the Stanley Cup rings will
be distributed today at a team luncheon.
Ron Francis, still unsigned, received a personal invitation from GM Craig
Patrick to attend the banner raising ceremony and luncheon. Francis accepted,
but said he didn't know if he and Patrick would hold contact negotiations
while he's here.
Patrick is currently trying to sign 13 Pens. Francis is top priorty. But
working out a contract for defenseman Ulf Samuelsson is a close second.
Patrick met with Ulf's agent Mark Perrone in Philadelphia 10 days ago. But
there was no indication of any major progress.
Ulf said he's in "no hurry" to get a new contract because the management has
"other concerns". But he also has leverage that most others to be resigned
Going to play in Europe won't be just an idle threat. Samuelsson is
considered a major star in his homeland Sweden, and feels that he could
score big financially if he returned home. Also, his father (who had 2
heart attacks during the Stanley Cup playoffs) is still quite ill, and
Samuelsson would like to be with him. But he also loves Pittsburgh, and
admits it will be a difficult decision to stay or go.
When Coffey broke Denis Potvin's scoring record on Thursday, he received
the standard congratulatory telegram from John Ziegler. He received a
plaque from Craig Patrick. He also received $100,000 bonus.
Contact for the Penguins