PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 96-97

(38-36-8, 84 pts., 285 GF - 280 GA, 6th place Eastern Conference)

PENS REGULAR SEASON SCORING RACE

Final
Mario - 122 (50 G, 72 A) +27 +/- [1st NHL overall]
Jagr - 95 (47 G, 48 A) +21 [5th]
Francis - 90 (27 G, 63 A) +4 [tied 7th]
Nedved - 71 (33 G, 38 A) -1
Olczyk - 55 (25 G, 30 A) -11


Penguin regular season fun facts:

Mullen named Masterton Finalist (4-29-97)

Joe Mullen was named an NHL Masterton award finalist. The Masterton award is given to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.

Pens get new co-owner (4-9-97)

Roger Marino shells out $40 million to buy out Morris Belzberg, one of Penguins owner Howard Baldwin's original backers when he purchased the team in 1991. Marino from Boston will now have a 50% stake in the Pens. [Yes, I came up a few bucks short in my quest for co-ownership...]

Mario announces his retirement (4-5-97)

So much for suspense! Mario makes it official before the end of this season that this will be his last season. The announcement was made at the annual Dapper Dan banquet and surprised Penguin officials.

Pens make 3 moves on trading deadline day (3-18-97)

The Pens send Richard Park to Anaheim for RW Roman Oksiuta. The Pens send Glen Murray to the LA Kings for C Eddie Olczyk. The Pens also picked up LW Josef Beranek from Vancouver for future considerations.

Park recalled from Cleveland (3-16-97)

Richard Park, the speedy center, was recalled from Cleveland and will take Christian's spot on the roster.

Mullen gets his 500th! (3-14-97)

Joe Mullen finally gets #500! Mullen, a native of New York City, became the 25th player in NHL history to score 500 goals in a career. Congratulations Joe!

Christian sent back to Cleveland (3-14-97)

Due to Chris Tamer's healed hip, Jeff Christian was sent back to Cleveland. Jeff we hardly got to know you...

PENS FIRE EJ (3-3-97)

Amen! Amen! Amen! The Pens fired Eddie Johnston on March 3rd! Craig Patrick will take over behind the bench for the remainder of the season. Here are two articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the firing, one by Bob Smizik and one by Dave Molinari.

Jagr possibly out for season (2-28-97)

Jaromir Jagr reinjured his groin in Thursday's game against Detroit. He will be evaluated Monday, March 3, but when Jagr was asked on when he might return he said "I don't know, maybe the playoffs, maybe next year." Obviously, this is extremely bad news for the Pens chances in this year's playoffs...

Roche and Wright sent to Cleveland (2-26-97)

Dave Roche F and Tyler Wright F, who cleared waivers, were sent to Cleveland and Jeff Christian LW was recalled. We'll see how much EJ actually plays Christian before sending him back...

Pens trade Daigneault (2-22-97)

The Penguins traded D JJ Daigneault to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for LW Gary Valk. Valk, 29 year old, 6'1", 205 lb, had 24 points (12G, 12A) and 125 penalty minutes last season in 79 games.
In order to make room for Valk, the Pens have waived Tyler Wright. The Pens will have to wait until noon on Tuesday to see if Wright clears waivers.

Civic Arena renovation moves ahead (2-7-97)

The Penguins will begin renovation of the Civic Arena at the end of the season after the regional tax board approved a $12.9 million dollar grant yesterday. The arena will get 1400 new club seats and extra luxury boxes. There are also plans for improved concession stands and merchandise stores.

Nedved's sexual assault charges are on hold (2-4-97)

Petr Nedved appears to have had the sexual assault charge against him dropped. Officially, the charge has been stayed which means the charge is dropped if not reactivated within 12 months. Nedved claims not to even have been in Vancouver at the time of the alleged incident.

Pens sweep NHL awards for January (2-2-97)

Mario Lemieux was named NHL Player of the Month for January and Patrick Lalime has been selected as NHL Rookie of the Month for January. Lemieux had 26 points (7G, 19A) in 11 games with a +15 +/- rating. Lalime, Rookie of the Month for the second straight time, posted an 8-2-1 record and set the NHL record for unbeaten streak to begin an NHL career at 16 games (14-0-2).

Pens to change road jerseys... (2-2-97)

Pittsburgh is considering a change to their road jerseys replacing the diagonal Pittsburgh on the front with the new (ugh...) logo. [I've got a better idea. Why not have 82 different jerseys, one for each game...]

Klima bought out (2-1-97)

Petr Klima, who had been playing in Cleveland, has had his contract bought out by the Pens. In other words, he is history and may now sign with any other team.

Pens trade Tomas Sandstrom (1-27-97)

The Pens deal Tomas Sandstrom to Detroit for C Greg Johnson (25 years old, 5'10", 174 lbs.). Johnson had 40 points (18G, 22A) in 60 games last season for the Red Wings. This season Johnson has 16 points (6G, 10A, -5 +/-) in 43 games played.

Lalime named Player of the Week (1-21-97)

Patrick Lalime (pronounced La-limb) was named the NHL Player of the Week for the period ending January 19th! Lalime was 2-0 with one shutout and a .984 save percentage during the week. He also currently leads the league with a 1.81 GAA and a .940 save percentage. Patrick has set the record for being unbeaten at the start of a career breaking the 14 game streaks held by Ken Dryden and Ross Brooks.

Mario hints at retirement (1-21-97)

Mario all but announced his retirement at the end of the season during the NHL Skill Competition and All-Star game over the weekend. One of his quotes "It looks like I'll be playing a lot of golf next year." However, his official decision won't come until a few weeks after the season. (That sounds familiar...)

Mario named Player of the Week

Mario Lemieux was named the NHL Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 5th. Mario had 11 points (4G, 7A) in 3 games. This is Lemieux's 22nd Player of the Week award in his career. He edged out Patrick Lalime...

Barrasso is history (1-6-97)

ESPN has reported that Tom Barrasso will probably not return to the Pens. Barrasso underwent season ending shoulder surgery and he is a free agent at the end of this season. Barrasso's pictures have been removed from the Pens training facility...

Lalime honored (1-4-97)

Patrick Lalime was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for December. Lalime's record in December was 7-0-1 with 2 shutouts and a 1.50 goals against average in nine games.

Jagr, Lemieux, and Hatcher in All-Star Game (1-3-97)

Jaromir Jagr who was voted in by fans will be joined by Mario Lemieux and Kevin Hatcher in the 1997 All-Star Game.

Wregget out... (12-28-96)

Ken Wregget injured in the 12-26 game against the Canadiens will be out 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury. It has also been reported that Barrasso will be having surgery to repair his injured shoulder which will end his season.

Mario apparently not coming back next season... (12-12-96)

Mario Lemieux has publicly stated that he probably won't be back for the 97-98 season. When asked if there was anything which would bring him back, Mario simply said, "Not really." "I won a couple of championships,'' Lemieux also said. ''There comes a point in your life where there's something else.'' Mario is also planning on skipping the upcoming All-Star game in San Jose.

Jagr named NHL Player of the Month - November '96 (12-2-96)

Jaromir Jagr was named the NHL's Player of the Month. He had 23 points (16 G, 7 A) in 13 games which led the league.

Tamer's and Wilkinson's injuries and Barrasso's "injury" (11-30-96)

Neil Wilkinson has begun skating with the team in practice. (I saw him on Friday, Nov. 29th's practice and he looked pretty good.) Chris Tamer has an abdominal injury which will keep him on the sidelines for 1-2 weeks. Tom Barrasso, reportedly, will now not be back in action until January or possibly next season if he needs to have shoulder surgery. The Post-Gazette reported late last week that several Pens thought Barrasso is capable of currently playing but that his ego was bruised by losing the starting job to Ken Wregget. Stay tuned...

Pens not going anywhere (11-30-96)

The deal to give the Igloo $10 million in public money has gone through after the Soldiers and Sailors Hall issue was dropped.

Penguins to move?! (11-26-96)

The deal between the Penguins and Allegheny County to give the Igloo a $10.5 million face-lift with public money, which had been agreed to on Friday, has apparently fallen through. The sticking point: Soldiers and Sailors Hall?! (If you're wondering what the two have to do with each other, I have no idea, but Mayor Murphy refused to give the Hall $500,000.) Howard Baldwin had threatened to move the team if a deal was not worked out by Monday.

Bergkvist will undergo surgery (11-22-96)

Stefan Bergkvist, the Pens first round draft pick in '93, will need to have an operation to remove a tumor in his head. The surgery is scheduled for December 3rd.

Penguins clean house (11-19-96)

Craig Patrick completes some early Christmas shopping by completing three separate moves. First, the Pens trade Chris Wells to the Panthers for C Stu Barnes (5'11", 174 lbs, 25 years old, 44 pts., 46 PIM last season) and D Jason Wooley (6'0", 188 lbs, 27 years old, 34 pts., 32 PIM last season). Second, Pittsburgh dealt Antoski and Mironov to the Ducks for D Fredrik Olausson (6'2", 195 lbs, 30 years old, 6 pts., 14 PIM last season) and LW Alex Hicks (6'1", 195 lbs., 30 years old, 21 pts., 37 PIM last season). Finally, the Pens waived Quinn and Klima. Phew...

Smolinski finally traded (11-17-96)

The Pens deal holdout Bryan Smolinski to the New York Islanders for D Darius Kasparaitis and C Andreas Johansson. Kasparaitis is a 5'11" 190lb 24 year old hardnosed (and occasionally chippy) defenseman and Johansson is a 5'10" 198lb 23 year old center.

Barrasso "injured" (11-14-96)

Tom Barrasso reportedly has a bad shoulder and will miss two weeks. Patrick Lalime has been called up to be Wregget's backup. Hmm...

Assorted news (10-26-96)

Pittsburgh got Petr Klima, a veteran Czech winger, from the LA Kings for a conditional 1997 draft pick. Pittsburgh also brought up Domenic Pitts from the minors. Bryan Smolinski continues his contract hold out and it looks less and less likely that he will remain with the Pens.

Nedved re-signs (10-5-96)

The Penguins re-signed Petr Nedved on opening day of the 96-97 season. Nedved received a multi-year contract which is believed to be in the $2 million per season range.

Pens add veteran defenseman Muni

Pittsburgh added veteran (ie 34 year old) defenseman Craig Muni. Muni played for Buffalo and Winnipeg last year and had 8 points and 106 penalty minutes.

Pens roster changes/injuries (10-1-96)

Been out of town for a couple of weeks so here's a bunch of news items all rolled into one. The Pens are 2-5-1 in preseason play with a league worst 34 goals against... Neil Wilkinson D has had stomach surgery and will be out two months. Shawn Antoski F and Dave Roche F have bruised sternums, Alex Stojanov D has a broken rib, and Joe Dziedzic F has a back problem. The Pens lost Chris Joseph D to Vancouver and Corey Foster D to the Islanders in the waiver draft. The Pens signed Chris Tamer D to a multi-year contract reportedly for $650,000 a year. Petr Nedved and Bryan Smolinski are still unsigned free agents.

Mario reports to camp (9-9-96)

Mario reports to Penguins training camp on Monday and declares that he will play the '96-'97 season. The 3 month wait for his decision is over.

Pens re-sign Wilkinson

Pittsburgh re-signed defenseman Neil Wilkinson to a 3 year, $2.1 million deal.

Pens re-sign Wregget

Pittsburgh re-signed goalie Ken Wregget to a 3 year $3.5 million contract. The Pens thus avoid an arbitration settlement with Wregget.

Pens sign Shawn Antoski

Penguins signed ex-Flyer tough guy Shawn Antoski. No, he's not a defenseman. Enough said...

Pens sign Dan Quinn

Penguins GM Mario Lemieux acquires his golf (and drinking...) buddy Dan Quinn. Quinn is another center. Now can we PLEASE get some defensemen?!

Pens renew contracts for Johnston and Patrick

The Pens signed head coach Eddie Johnston and GM Craig Patrick to new contracts. Patrick gets a new 5 year deal and Johnston gets an indefinite contract extension (unfortunately...). More evidence that Lemieux will probably return.

Pens deal Zubov to Stars...

Pittsburgh dumped Sergei Zubov on draft day and received Kevin Hatcher of the Stars in return. I'm not too sure about this one. Granted Hatcher is bigger, older, and less offensively talented than Zubov. I thought we needed defensive defenseman...

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