Passing the puck: A fight breaks out over a moot point

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Talk about unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Pittsburgh Penguins make it into the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years but the mayor and City Council members are the ones who end up in a scrum.

The Penguins proposed, but then abandoned, the idea of putting up 40-by-85-foot banners on Fifth Avenue Place, Downtown, that would have featured Captain Sidney Crosby and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The team has decided to drum up fan frenzy in other ways, including opening up Mellon Arena so fans can assemble there to watch the televised games that will be played in Detroit.

That clearly could be fun.

What isn't clear is just why Mayor Luke Ravenstahl ended up blaming council for the decision to forgo the banners.

Whatever else took place, at least it seems the mayor took a cautious approach on the topic of the signs, which makes sense given the recent, significant trouble that flowed from failing to follow the rules regarding billboards -- particularly a digital board proposed for the new Grant Street Transportation Center.

And, before deciding to pay for his own ticket to the first Penguins-Red Wings game in Detroit on Saturday, he first asked the Law Department to review the circumstances under which he can represent the city at the event without violating city ethics rules. That certainly seems a wiser course than the mayor took when he accepted free tickets to a pricey charity golf outing or jumped on a private plane for a trip to New York City with Penguins team owners.

We think he deserves some credit when it looks like he was trying to do the right thing.

We just can't figure out why all the penalties are being called.


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