Here’s an excerpt from my Trib column:

Home games at PPG Paints Arena are filled to 97.7% capacity. The 633-game sellout streak is long since dead. But that’s still impressive attendance given the Penguins’ record. That’s star power and hope.

The Penguins aren’t going to burn it down. That doesn’t seem FSG’s style, and that’s not how it’s done in a league with a salary cap.

To read the entire piece, click HERE.

Having attended almost every home game, it’s hard to believe the Penguins are playing to 97.7% capacity. Like ex-Penguin Tyler Kennedy said on Monday's show, I see empty seats. But those are mostly in the lower bowl where the idle rich come late and leave early.

At any rate, that figure (or thereabouts) for Penguins attendance is cited by every source. It's legit.

Twitter and talk radio might be unhappy with the Penguins, who are currently seven points out of a playoff spot. But the paying customers seem satisfied. (For now.)

What will Fenway Sports Group do? FSG wants to win. But how soon is winning likely regardless of the path taken?

Might as well profit via false hope for at least one more campaign, especially if that’s the best shot at extending Sidney Crosby’s contract. (It expires after next season.)

But Jake Guentzel must either be re-signed or dealt by the NHL's March 8 trade deadline. That's no matter how the Penguins choose to move forward. You can't let an valuable asset walk via free agency and bring nothing in return if the Penguins won't make the playoffs.

Winnipeg Jets v Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Justin Berl / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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