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GOVERNORS APPROVE SALE OF PENS TO LEMIEUX

Mario Lemieux is making a comeback, and bringing the Pittsburgh Penguins with him.

Lemieux's takeover of the bankrupt Penguins was approved Wednesday by the NHL's board of governors, climaxing a long struggle by the former hockey great and his associates to keep the team in Pittsburgh.

Only court approval remained to finalize the deal, and that's expected to be taken care of by a bankruptcy judge during a closing hearing Friday in Pittsburgh.

His initial priorities center around making the Penguins more attractive. Among other things, that means lower ticket prices and, eventually, a new arena.

Lemieux, the highest-paid player in the league when he starred in Pittsburgh, said he will also turn his attention to keeping his players' salaries as low as possible.

"We have a lot of work to do," said Lemieux, whose $13 million contract one season was higher than the combined total made by the next two players on the NHL salary scale.

He also said he would like to see more scoring.

"That's what I did best," he said. "Hopefully, we can find a way to make the game higher scoring. We have to see what we can do to open the game."

In other NHL news, Markus Naslund, the Vancouver Canucks' leading scorer last year (36 goals, 66 points), signed a three-year contract worth $7.2 million. He was a restricted free agent.

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