Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here)

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Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here)

Postby JS© on Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:45 pm

Was reading djlm's thread about Edzo and it gave me an idea. Since all of us became fans at different times, I thought it would be a good idea to create a thread of articles from the past. It could be from last season, the last Cup, the X-Gen, pre-Mario, Penguins' prospects, the Igloo, you name it.

Per site rules, don't forget to include the source of the article and do not quote the entire article.

Post-gazette.com should have lots of info, as should Google newspapers: http://news.google.com/newspapers.

12/10/2000

20 questions about Mario's comeback

1. When will he start?

When he feels like it. Sounds glib, but it's the truth.

Lemieux is going to keep working out on his own, probably for the next few days, then maybe -- maybe, now -- join the team for practice later in the week. It depends on how strong his legs feel and whether his chronically ailing back holds up through all the stress he's putting it through. If he doesn't join the club within the next five days, it's likely he would wait until Dec. 22 to start practicing because the Penguins will be away on a three-game road trip Dec. 16-21, and he wouldn't be able to get much quality time with the team while it's traveling.

As for when he will play, the popular target date is Dec. 27 because it's the start of a four-game homestand. But now that the game is already sold out ... hey, what's the rush, right?

2. Has anyone else owned a professional hockey team while playing for it?

Not in the modern era, but one guy in 1915 has Lemieux beat by a mile for versatility on a resume. Frank Patrick was the president of the old Pacific Coast Hockey Association, and the owner, general manager, coach and star defenseman for the Vancouver Millionaires.

Cool fact: His team won the Stanley Cup that year.
Cooler still: Patrick was the brother of Lester Patrick, grandfather of Craig Patrick.

3. Can he catch Zigmund Palffy in the NHL's scoring race?

It's natural to hesitate before suggesting Lemieux is incapable of any feat. But spotting a guy 50 points with more than half the season left? That's tough. Palffy, enjoying a breakout year with the Los Angeles Kings, has 42 points and figures to pile up no fewer than a dozen more by the end of this month.

That said, Penguins historians will recall that Lemieux trailed Pat LaFontaine by 12 points when he returned from cancer treatments in early March 1993. He finished with 160 points and the scoring title, blowing away LaFontaine by 12 points. In the 20 games after his return, he had 30 goals and 26 assists.

It hardly seemed fair.

4. Will he still run the team?

Yes. Although he plans to perform all the duties that go along with being a player -- and those can be pretty exhausting -- he has told team officials he will remain involved in business decisions and has asked to be kept abreast of developments. The NHL has allowed him to retain all of his titles -- owner, chief executive officer and governor -- although he might abstain in league votes involving thorny issues between management and the players' union.

As for the internal hierarchy, Patrick shrugged that off: "The way our organization works, we all work together. We don't have egos. We don't have titles."

5. Will this help the Penguins get a new arena?

It certainly won't hurt. Remember how during the Plan B controversy some critics derided the Pirates by asking why they need a new stadium if they can't fill the one they have? Similar shots were sure to have been fired at the Penguins, had their attendance remained an average of 1,700 below capacity, as it is now. But with sellout crowds expected on a regular, and perhaps religious, basis, with luxury boxes overflowing with clients for the remainder of this season, nothing could better underscore the need for a new, modern facility.


and even a mention about Mario and Team USA

13. Will he play in the Olympics?

Only Lemieux can answer that, of course, but his history has been to shun international competition. He had a lousy experience as a teen-ager at the 1984 World Junior Championships, then played at the 1985 World Championships and blossomed into a star at the memorable 1987 Canada Cup. That was it for him in a national uniform.

And he isn't likely to don one again at Salt Lake City in 2002, even though Gretzky, the team's general manager, already is tossing hints that he will ask him.

A more intriguing issue is this: What if Lemieux decided to skate for the United States?

He is an American citizen, having lived in Pittsburgh for the better part of two decades. To top that, Patrick is the general manager and Herb Brooks the coach. Patrick said he would love to have him but added it's unlikely because of Olympic rules, which prohibits athletes who have represented one nation in a major international competition from changing sides.


http://old.post-gazette.com/penguins/20001210mario3.asp

and a 1999 article about Penguins prospects

1/3/1999

Craig Hillier is a goaltender with NHL potentialAlas, he's also a 20-year-old rookie.

Hillier, the Pittsburgh Penguins' third-best prospect according to The Hockey News, started his first pro season by shutting out defending American Hockey League champion Philadelphia on the road. Of Syracuse's 16 wins or ties this season, he has earned 13 of them. Hillier, who is expected to play for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins next season, has performed well enough for coaches to praise him. He has proven to be coachable, correcting a major flaw in his playing style during the summer. Yet apparently, there's a significant roadblock. Hillier has pulled himself following the first period during three games this season. Syracuse assistant Glenn Patrick finally wondered aloud two weeks ago if he wasn't removing himself because of nervousness.

The official reasons Hiller left those games were back spasms at St. John's, a bad groin at Albany and the flu against Cincinnati.

After the Cincinnati game, Patrick, when pressed, admitted: "There's a big concern. He's got to mature out of it. If it's nerves causing the problem, we've got to get him out of that. I'm not saying tonight was, but he's gotten sick from nerves before. ... You can't make the NHL being sick." On Wednesday, Hillier said his self-removals were for legitimate reasons, and playing more would only have hurt the team. Yet in all three of those games, Hillier was sharp. He stopped nine of 10 shots at St. John's, nine of 10 at Albany, and all eight against Cincinnati. "No, it's not nerves," he said. "(Against Cincinnati) I had to come out because I wasn't feeling too well ... There's just times you have to know your limits. If you're not going to be able to play well, let somebody else (play)."

If this is a concern, his ability to listen isn't. Last season in junior hockey, Hillier sat back in his crease, relying on his reflexes to make saves. As the players get better, that won't work. So Hillier spent the summer working on coming out to cut down the angles (called "challenging the shooter").

Hillier has shown flashes of brilliance. However, his .884 save percentage is the worst among the 15 AHL goalies who have played at least 20 games. All things considered, Syracuse coaches say Hillier has played well. "We're happy with Craig," head coach Jack McIlhargey said. "For a first-year kid, he's done all right."


and several other prospects

Dave Brown, a scout with the New York Rangers, attended the Syracuse-Hershey game on Wednesday. It's the third time this season he saw the Crunch play. Brown took some time to comment on some of the Penguins' top minor league prospects.

    On defensemen Pavel Skrbek and Michal Rozsival, the organization's top two prospects according to The Hockey News: "Right from the first time I saw them, I was pretty impressed with the way both of them played. I think maybe Rozsival is a little more aggressive and Skrbek's not far behind.
    On enigmatic forward Robert Dome: "He has great potential. His first couple strides are a bit slow, but he definitely has some great tools at a young age (19).
    On forward Boris Protsenko: "He's a pretty well-skilled player, definitely not scared to stick his nose in there. He's still a young guy. He needs to gain a bit of strength and I think he needs to improve his skating, too. As far as his offensive skills, he's got pretty good hands and he's got good vision."
    On forward Martin Sonnenberg, who last week received his second brief call-up to Pittsburgh: "When I first saw him I thought he was going to have a chance to play (in the NHL). I didn't know if he'd be up there this soon. I wasn't surprised to see him up there because I thought he did look like a good prospect. ... He seems to be a hard worker. He didn't take any shifts off. That's what stood out the most."
    On forward Valentin Morozov: "He's got unbelievable skills. He's going to have to learn how to play in traffic. ... A lot of promise there."
    On forward Alexei Kolkunov: "He definitely has good skills, handles the puck well. His skating is OK, I think he can improve that a little bit. Most of all, he probably has to improve his intensity and he's going to have to be willing to be physical."


http://archives.timesleader.com/1999/19 ... _SYRA.html
Last edited by JS© on Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby mikey287 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:47 pm

Excellent idea for a thread. Great contributions to start. Excited to read and contribute!
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby slappybrown on Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:02 pm

mikey287 wrote:Excellent idea for a thread. Great contributions to start. Excited to read and contribute!

Agreed, fantastic idea.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby JS© on Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:45 am

February 23, 1992, Kevin Stevens (among others) does not like the Recchi trade.

``Mark Recchi turned down more money from Philadelphia at the beginning of the year, figuring he was giving something back to the Penguins,`` he said. ``And this happened.``

Recchi was the best player of the seven in the exchange, winding up with the Flyers, whose free-agent offer he had turned down to remain with the defending NHL champions in Pittsburgh.

``He was destroyed,`` Penguins defenseman Ulf Samuellson said of Recchi`s reaction to being traded.

`Recchi is one of a kind,`` Stevens said. ``He`s going to score 40, 50 goals for the next 10 to 12 years. To give up a guy of that caliber. . . . I just don`t understand sometimes how they do it.

``We definitely needed some help somewhere. But I don`t know if this is the way we should have gone about it. It`s funny when people say athletes look out for themselves, that all they want is money. It just goes to show you that you`ve got to watch out for yourself.``

Goalie Tom Barrasso`s backups, Wendell Young and Frank Pietrangelo (who hasn`t played since Nov. 9) were upset to see Pittsburgh pick up Wreggret. Either Pietrangelo or Young is headed for a trade out of town.

``It`s a slap in the face,`` Pietrangelo said.

Young added: ``It shows a lack of confidence in what you do.``

Blackhawks GM/coach Mike Keenan had wanted to get Tocchet, who admits his season has left a lot to be desired.

``I haven`t played well this season,`` he said. ``I let a lot of things bother me, but I`m not making excuses. I`ve got to get the feeling back. Pittsburgh needs some aggressiveness. I think I`ll be able to provide it. I never asked to be traded, but I wasn`t playing happy, and that`s not good.``


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992 ... ark-recchi
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Gaucho on Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:54 am

I didn't know Recchi had turned down an offer by the Flyers. Bush league.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby CERV96 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:03 am

March 14 2007

http://www.post-gazette.com/penguins/20 ... 0703140271

A timeline on the new arena deal

In the nearly eight years since Mario Lemieux bought the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team has been through a handful of proposals and many starts and stops in its efforts to finance a replacement for Mellon Arena. Here are some of the notable events that occurred along the way to yesterday's announcement that a deal has been reached:
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby JS© on Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:37 am

2/10/1966, "City Gets Big League Hockey; New Team Begins NHL Play In 1967-68 Season"

(Page 1)
Pittsburgh, the birthplace of professional hockey but minor league during most of the 60 odd years the sport has thrived here, will be major league when the 1967-68 season opens.

A group of Pittsburgh investors, headed by State Senator Jack McGregor and Attorney Peter H. Block, yesterday was granted a National Hockey League franchise at a league expansion meeting in New York. Five other cities - Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, Philadelphia, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and St. Louis - also were awarded franchises in the expansion of the NHL from the six teams which have composed the league since 1942.

Had Some Misgivings
The Pittsburgh group, which had some misgivings as to the probability of bringing the NHL back to the city after more than three decades, said immediately after being notified of it's selection that work would begin immediately on development, from the ground up, of a basically-solid hockey organization.
"We'll have to elect a board of directors from among the 21 investors as one of the first items of business...then we'll have to find a General Manager, and we'll be looking for the best in the business. After that, we'll have the task of establishing a scouting....system and a farm system.

(page 24)
The cost ($2 million), however, includes the drafting of 20 players from among those on the lists of the six NHL teams and their minor league affiliates. "Mechanics of the draft have not been determined as yet," Senator McGregor said. "We won't be drafting anybody until the summer of 1967, so there is no hurry in that respect."

There were a number of cities seeking franchises and more than one group in some of them when the expansion meeting opened Monday. In addition to the McGregor-Block combine, a group headed by John Gleason, a Chicago banker, also sought the Pittsburgh franchise.

Senator McGregor was named to the NHL Board Of Directors as the Pittsburgh representative.

Other investors in the new Pittsburgh team include Russell Byers, Attorney Robert J. Dodds, W.D. George III, H.J. Heinz III, Art Rooney, Clint Childs, Charles Cross, State Senator Richard Frame, Ira Gordon, Toby Hilliard, Henry Hillman, Attorney Jerome B. Lieber, Charles Lockhart, Charles Muse, Thomas Nimick, Richard Mellon Scaife, William Snyder IV, Attorney William Standish IV, and George Wychoff Jr.

Rooney, owner of the Steelers, said that he would be a minor investor, but would be as active as necessary in aiding in development of a winning team. McGregor had asked him to join the combine because of his widespread relationships with numerous sports leaders. (Side note: I'm laughing at the winning team comment, as the Steelers were 5-8-1, 2-12, and 5-9 in the three previous seasons.)

The new franchise owners also will have an indemnification bill to settle with Bruce Norris, owner of the (Pittsburgh) Hornets, Detroit Red Wings, and Memphis Red Wings. "Mr. Norris has been very cooperative with us in obtaining this franchise and has assured us that he will be very reasonable when it comes time for us to purchase his (the Hornets') territorial rights", Block said. The Hornets will remain here throughout next season (1966-67), competing in the American Hockey League, while the new organization is being completed.

Enlargement of the Civic Arena's seating capacity from the present 10,732 to about 12,800 can be accomplished without any structural changes. The NHL demand seating capacity of at least 12,500 from all franchise-seekers.

St. Louis was not represented, nor did the city make a big for a franchise at the New York meetings. President Clarence M. Campbell of the NHL said that "we want a team in St. Louis because of the city's geographical location and the fact it has an adequate building." The St. Louis Arena, currently used by the Braves of the Central Hockey League seats 14,000. The franchise was "awarded" subject to application by a "satisfactory" group prior to April 5. However, word from St. Louis late yesterday indicated that Stan Musial, one of baseball's all-time greats and his partner in a restaurant business, Julius "Biggie" Garagnani, are heading a 16-man group which is ready to make a formal application for a franchise. They should be "satisfactory" enough. If St. Louis doesn't make application, the franchise will.....

(page 25)

...go to Baltimore, where the American Hockey League (Baltimore) Clippers play. If the St. Louis does obtain a franchise, the American Hockey League will only lost the Hornets and (the AHL) will still be an eight team organization with Eastern and Western divisions unless Norris decides to move the Pittsburgh club to another city.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=g ... page&hl=en

Garagani would never see the Blues take the ice, as he passed away on June 20, 1967.
Last edited by JS© on Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Pitts on Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:01 am

Gaucho wrote:I didn't know Recchi had turned down an offer by the Flyers. Bush league.

Never knew that either. But Rick Tocchet became a legend here in the 'Burgh! And in the end, Recchi came back anyway.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Dickie Dunn on Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:39 am

Interesting to see so much public disdain in the middle of the season from players about the Recchi trade.

Also, what a depressing list of prospects in the first post. Skrbek, Hillier, Dome. Ugh.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby CERV96 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:11 pm

7/11/2001 "Jagr traded to Capitals"


In the deal, announced by Penguins general manager Craig Patrick, the Capitals get Jagr and defenseman Frantisek Kucera, and send Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, Ross Lupaschuk to Pittsburgh.

Patrick said he was delighted with the players Pittsburgh received.

He called Beech the key to the deal and a potential franchise player whose skills are similar to former Penguins great Ron Francis.



http://old.post-gazette.com/penguins/20 ... grnet1.asp
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Gaucho on Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:26 pm

Kudos to CP for being able to keep a straight face when he made those comments.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby mikey287 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:56 pm

Our two big-time future centermen, Kris Beech and Milan Kraft, didn't pan out...damn...like a rusty skate to the testicles...
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby KG on Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:00 pm

It's funny how many centers drafted who didn't have top-end talent, speed or great goal scoring ability....were compared to Ron Francis...
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby TPW on Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:14 pm

JS© wrote:February 23, 1992, Kevin Stevens (among others) does not like the Recchi trade.

``Mark Recchi turned down more money from Philadelphia at the beginning of the year, figuring he was giving something back to the Penguins,`` he said. ``And this happened.``

Recchi was the best player of the seven in the exchange, winding up with the Flyers, whose free-agent offer he had turned down to remain with the defending NHL champions in Pittsburgh.

``He was destroyed,`` Penguins defenseman Ulf Samuellson said of Recchi`s reaction to being traded.

`Recchi is one of a kind,`` Stevens said. ``He`s going to score 40, 50 goals for the next 10 to 12 years. To give up a guy of that caliber. . . . I just don`t understand sometimes how they do it.

``We definitely needed some help somewhere. But I don`t know if this is the way we should have gone about it. It`s funny when people say athletes look out for themselves, that all they want is money. It just goes to show you that you`ve got to watch out for yourself.``

Goalie Tom Barrasso`s backups, Wendell Young and Frank Pietrangelo (who hasn`t played since Nov. 9) were upset to see Pittsburgh pick up Wreggret. Either Pietrangelo or Young is headed for a trade out of town.

``It`s a slap in the face,`` Pietrangelo said.

Young added: ``It shows a lack of confidence in what you do.``

Blackhawks GM/coach Mike Keenan had wanted to get Tocchet, who admits his season has left a lot to be desired.

``I haven`t played well this season,`` he said. ``I let a lot of things bother me, but I`m not making excuses. I`ve got to get the feeling back. Pittsburgh needs some aggressiveness. I think I`ll be able to provide it. I never asked to be traded, but I wasn`t playing happy, and that`s not good.``


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992 ... ark-recchi


This is really funny considering how much Tocchet contributed to the Cup in '92 and made Keenan look stupid getting swept. He could've stopped at least Tocchet's contribution by acquiring him like he wanted to. Crazy.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Factorial on Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:35 pm

I remember a clip of Recchi leaving the arena after that trade and refusing to talk to anyone. He was P*SSED.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby JS© on Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:53 pm

Playoff atmosphere has Civic Arena rocking again

4/27/1999

What was in the air at the Civic Arena Sunday afternoon? It's been missing for so long, it was hard to identify. But there it was.

Atmosphere. It's back.

The arena, a haven for raucous sellout crowds and, shall we say, colorful expression, during the Penguins' Stanley Cup years in the early 90s, has become a much quieter, subdued building over the last 5 years. Many of the team's blue-collar supporters, those who have followed the team long before they became NHL champions, have been priced out of the arena. In their place, businessmen clad in suits and ties, not hockey jerseys, filled the building. Noisemakers and signs were replaced by rolled up Wall Street Journals and briefcases. But as the Penguins rook a 2-1 edge in their best of 7 quarterfinal with top-seeded New Jersey, a curious transformation began to occue: the arena was rocking. Fans stood en masse, wildly waving white towels. And they were loud...very loud.


There are a few comments in here from Barrasso about not liking the dark arena and being disappointed with the crowd being short of a sellout, but I'm not typing the whole thing out. There are a few more articles I want to move onto.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2 ... 93,4326917
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby JS© on Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:09 pm

Pens' DeRouville tired of waiting
9/18/1996

When he was drafted 115th overall back in 1992, Philippe DeRouville wasn't proclaimed the Penguins' goaltender of the future. But the future is certainly ahread of him. Now, he says, it's upon him.

The 22 year old from Arthabaska, PQ is in the final year of his first pro contract and he is looking for a chance to prove to the Penguins that he can play at the NHL level. Or to prove it to someone else.

"I'm 22 now, and I think it might be the right time for me to get a chance to play...if it's going to be in Pittsburgh or somewhere else," he said. "If I have a good camp, maybe I can say to Mr. (GM Craig) Patrick, I want a chance to play in the NHL, to go to another team. I don't want to be 25 years old and then they say 'Well, you're good but you don't have any NHL experience.' If I can't play, then that's fine. Sometimes you need a break."

Given the presence of Tom Barrasso and Ken Wregget, getting a break in Pittsburgh anytime soon will be difficult for DeRouville, who won his only NHL appearance with the Penguins two seasons ago but as yet to establish himself as the number one goaltender for their IHL affiliate in Cleveland. The drafting of goaltender Craig Hillier by the Penguins in the first round this summer doesn't bode well for DeRouville either.

Cleveland coach Rick Paterson, who used DeRouville in 38 games and Patrick Lalime in 41 last season, agreed with Patrick's assessment. "I think he has to stand up a little more; he has a tendency to go down early, but that's his style," Paterson said. He has to learn how to handle the puck better and control his rebounds.


http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2 ... 431,374100

Aside from not being able to win the starting job in Cleveland, I wonder if his comments about playing elsewhere factored into the Penguins not offering him a contract the following season.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Pitts on Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:35 am

Pens Goalie Sets Rookie Record

And in this one, Patrick Who?, interesting mention about the line of Lemiuex/Francis/Jagr:
Through Sunday the Penguins were 17-2-4 since Nov. 22, when coach Ed Johnston created the Bottom Line of Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis, who combined for 54 goals and 68 assists in those 23 games.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby MarioLives on Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:57 am

Had to do it......

"Maybe I'm going to think about retirement pretty soon."

There are 10 million reasons why that remark is too ludicrous to even address.

"I feel like I'm dying alive."

14 years later, still has not retired.

http://old.post-gazette.com/sports/colu ... 30cook.asp
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Crankshaft on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:27 am

lol, Jean-Sebastian Aubin...I haven't heard that name in a while.
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Pitts on Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:16 pm


long-term injuries to top defensemen Bob Boughner and Janne Laukkanen.

Wow...really? How much we forget!
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Jim on Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:42 pm

I could have sworn that Boughner knocked Peca out with a hit in Pittsburgh... but all that I can find is Boughner taking out Primeau. Does anyone remember him hitting Peca?
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Bathgate on Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:36 pm

Here is a great article about Lemieux written by Tom McMillen when he was a P-G staff writer about 3 months before the Pens drafted him. It's the article that had every Pens fan drooling over the prospect of drafting Lemieux. Go to the first page of the sports section to find the beginning of the article.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=gL9scSG3K_gC&dat=19840402&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby Kharlamov on Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:53 pm

PITTSBURGH - A judge dismissed a harassment charge against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tom Barrasso in connection with a spring bar fight......

.....Police said Barrasso suggested that art student David Niness' legs would be broken if he pressed charges against Penguins defenseman Peter Taglianetti and strength coach John Welday


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Re: Looking back at the Penguins.... (post old articles here

Postby JS© on Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:11 pm

and who said Mario didn't play defense in his rookie year.

Lemieux Impressive In Debut, 10/12/84, Lewiston (ME) Journal

On the whole, the Mario Lemieux debut merited a rave review.

"He looks a little like Gretzky, the way he skates", said one critic. "Plays some defense too," analyzed another. "He handles the puck like a veteran. He really likes to pass," observed a third.

"He's going to be a dangerous player," said Bruins coach Gerry Cheevers after Boston's 4-3 victory. If he were a basketball player, he'd be called 'Slick'. The guy who brings it up and handles the ball so smoothly. You can see he's got great hands." Tell Bruins' defenseman Ray Bourque about it. Bourque was setting up at the right point when Lemieux stuck out his stick, stole the puck and sped off. "I tried to go through his stick and his skates," said Bourque, later selected the game's first star after scoring the winning goal. "It hit his stick and he was gone."

At 6-4 and 200, he won't many out looking for trouble, but the Bruins seemed willing to test his desire to mix it up. Lemieux, who drew one penalty and had eight points in Pittsburgh's six exhibition games, wouldn't be lured into fisticuffs. "That's part of the game," he said. "It's tough to play here because Boston is very physical, but I'm on the ice to score goals. It's not my job to fight guys."


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