Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Home ice||Mellon Arena|
|Colours||Black, white, silver, gold|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Head coach||Ed Olczyk|
|General manager||Craig Patrick|
- Founded: 1967-1968
- Arena: Mellon Arena (capacity 17,537), formerly known as the Civic Arena
- Current Coach: Ed Olczyk
- Uniform colors: Black, white, vegas gold, grey.
- Logo design: A penguin skating, holding a hockey stick
- Stanley Cup wins: 2 - 1991, 1992
Pittsburgh was one of the Expansion six added when the NHL doubled in size in 1967. The new teams were hampered by restrictive rules that kept all major talent with the "original 6". The Penguins finished just six points out of first place in the closely fought West Division, but finished out of the playoffs.
Tragedy struck the Penguins in 1970 when rookie center Michel Briere , who finished third in scoring on the team during his only season in the league, was injured in a car crash. He died in 1971 after spending a year in hospital.
The Penguins were never a force in the league until they drafted Mario Lemieux in 1984. After four more years out of the playoffs, Lemieux led the league in scoring in 1988-1989 and the Penguins made the playoffs, where they lost in the second round to the Philadelphia Flyers.
In 1990-1991, the Penguins reached the top. They drafted star Czech right winger Jaromir Jagr, and through the 1990s, Jagr and Lemieux were two of the league's biggest scoring threats. Add that to up-and-coming Mark Recchi and Kevin Stevens , stalwart defenseman Paul Coffey, and the goaltending of Tom Barasso, and the Penguins became the league's best team, defeating the Minnesota North Stars (since relocated to Dallas) in the Stanley Cup finals. The following season, the team lost coach Bob Johnson to cancer, and Scotty Bowman took over as coach. Under Bowman, they repeated as Stanley Cup champions.
Cancer nearly dealt the Penguins a double whammy in 1993. Not only were they reeling from Johnson's death, Mario Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. His comeback only two months after the diagnosis was one of the league's greatest "feel-good" stories of all time. Despite the difficulties the team faced, Pittsburgh finished with a 56-21-7 record, winning the franchise's first and only Presidents' Trophy, as the team with the most points in the regular season. Despite their strong play in the regular season, the team was upset in the second round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders.
The Penguins continued to be a formidable team through the rest of the 1990s, but it came with a price. They had paid so much for their talent, they almost went bankrupt, and it took Lemieux (who retired in 1997) to take over the team in bankruptcy court and prevent it from moving to Portland, Oregon. Lemieux shocked the hockey world by deciding to come back in late 2000 and led the Penguins into the 2001 playoffs, where they lost to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals .
Still, they needed to cut costs. They did so in a big way by dealing Jagr to the Washington Capitals in the summer of 2001 for a song. The absence of Jagr proved devastating to the Penguins, as in 2002 they missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Further difficulties on and off the ice saw them trade fan favourite Alexei Kovalev the next season.
2003 was expected to be a rebuilding year for the Penguins, acquiring first overall pick Marc-Andre Fleury in the NHL Entry Draft and the hiring of new head coach, and former Penguin and commentator Eddie Olczyk. Cost restrictions made the signing of Fleury rather tense. Fleury showed resolve by his excellent goaltending, and although the Penguins continued with the worst NHL record, Fleury showed that he could shrug off hard shots from some of the league's best players. However more troubles besieged the Penguins when Lemieux suffered a hip injury early in the season. Months later it was determined that he would sit the rest of the season out to recover, although he pledged to return next season. The Pens then traded away star player Martin Straka to the Los Angeles Kings and later had to send Fleury back down to his minor league team due to further money problems. While in no way ready for a playoff run this season, the Penguins are hoping to develop their fresh young talent into a formidable team in the years to come.
In the summer of 2004, the Penguins lost forward Aleksey Morozov , who decided to sign with the Russian league in the light of a possible lockout this season. However, the Penguins managed to re-sign one of their biggest fan favorites and former stars, Mark Recchi.
With the 2004-2005 season effectively locked out, starting September 15, several Penguins players are taking time off to themselves, while others are seeking alternate routes to the ice. Players still signed to the Penguins' AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre Penguins, are playing this season in the minors, while players such as Aleksey Morozov and Lasse Pirjeta are honing their talents in the elite European and Russian leagues.
Players of note
- Scotty Bowman (coach 1991-1992, inducted 1991)
- Paul Coffey (inducted 2004)
- Bob Johnson (inducted 1992)
- Mario Lemieux (inducted 1997)
- Mike Lange (announcer 1975-Present, inducted 2001)
- Joe Mullen (inducted 2000)
- Larry Murphy (inducted 2004)
- Craig Patrick (general manager 1990-Present, coach 1989-1990 and 1996-1997, inducted 2001)
- Bryan Trottier (inducted 1997)
- Marc-Andre Fleury (drafted 2003)
- Mario Lemieux (drafted in 1984)
- Mark Recchi (drafted 1988; reacquired from Philadelphia Flyers in 2004)
- Dick Tarnstrom (acquired in 2002)
Not to be forgotten
- Tom Barrasso (traded to Ottawa Senators in 2000)
- Ron Francis (signed by Carolina Hurricanes in 1998)
- Jaromir Jagr (traded to Washington Capitals in 2001)
- Alexei Kovalev (traded to New York Rangers in 2003)
- Aleksey Morozov (left NHL in 2004 to play in Russia)
- Markus Näslund (traded to Vancouver Canucks in 1996)
- Kevin Stevens (traded to Boston Bruins in 1995; reacquired from Philadelphia Flyers in 2001)
- Martin Straka (traded to Los Angeles Kings in 2003)
- 21 Michel Briere (retired January 5, 2001)
- 66 Mario Lemieux (retired November 19, 1997 until December 27, 2000)
- 99 Wayne Gretzky (retired league-wide by the NHL 1999)
- Pittsburgh Penguins official web site
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Pittsburgh Coupons and Penguin ticket sales
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