Penguins' days in Pittsburgh numbered?

Pittsburgh Penguins captain-owner Mario Lemieux says a lack of progress on a new arena deal likely means the NHL team will be on the move in 2007

Pittsburgh Penguins fans may not get to enjoy the Sid and Mario Show for much longer.

Captain-owner Mario Lemieux, citing a lack of progress on a new arena deal, said he is doubtful the NHL team will remain in the Steel City after its Mellon Arena lease expires in 2007.

"I think we're really running out of time," Lemieux said. "We probably ran out of time already. It's been unfortunate that the city and the county haven't been willing to work with us over the last two or three years."

The Penguins are projecting a $7 million US loss this season, assuming the team draws near-capacity crowds and advances to Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But anything is possible with Lemieux and 18-year-old rookie of the year candidate Sidney Crosby performing magic on the ice.

Crosby leads the Penguins in scoring with 30 points in 29 games, while Lemieux is fourth with 21 points.

For years, Lemieux has said the Penguins would not be able to survive in Pittsburgh without a new arena.

The 16,958-seat Mellon Arena is the NHL's oldest and smallest facility.

The lease allows the Pittsburgh to solicit offers for the franchise beginning in June 2006. Kansas City already has declared its interest.

"We'll sit down with everybody and understand what's at stake for our investment and what's best for the franchise" when the board of directors is scheduled to meet this week, Lemieux said.

with files from Associated Press