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Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins logo
Information
Conference Eastern
Division Atlantic
Founded 1967
History Pittsburgh Penguins
1967–present
Arena CONSOL Energy Center
City Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Team Colors Black, Vegas gold, white
              
Media Fox Sports Pittsburgh
WXDX-FM
WBGG (AM)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Owner(s) Flag of Canada Mario Lemieux
Flag of the United States Ron Burkle
General Manager Flag of the United States Ray Shero
Head Coach Flag of the United States Dan Bylsma
Captain Flag of Canada Sidney Crosby
Minor League affiliates Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)
Championships
Stanley Cups 1990–91, 1991–92, 2008–09
President's Trophies 1992–93
Conferences 1990–91, 1991–92, 2007–08, 2008–09
Divisions 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1997–98, 2007–08
Uniforms
Pittsburgh Penguins Road Uniform Pittsburgh Penguins Home Uniform Pittsburgh Penguins Alternate Uniform
Home ice rink
Pittsburgh Penguins ice rink logo

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL) and are the defending Stanley Cup champions. The franchise was founded in 1967 as one of the first expansion teams during the league's original expansion from six to twelve teams. The Penguins have played in Mellon Arena since their first season, and will move into their new arena, Consol Energy Center, in time for the 2010–11 NHL season. They have won three Stanley Cup championships in their history, in 1990–91, 1991–92, and 2008–09.

Franchise historyEdit

Expansion years: 1967–69 Edit

Before the Penguins, Pittsburgh had been the home of the NHL's Pirates during the 1920s, and the successful Hornets AHL franchise from the 1930s through the 1960s. In the spring of 1965, Jack McGregor, a state senator from Kittaning, devised a plan to bring an NHL franchise back to Pittsburgh. McGregor's plan involved lobbying some of his campaign contributors (who were avid sports fans) and community leaders. The group focused on leveraging the NHL as an urban renewal tool for Pittsburgh. The senator formed a group of local investors for the Pittsburgh franchise that included H. J. Heinz Company heir H. J. Heinz III, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney, and the Mellon family's Richard Mellon Scaife. The 1967 NHL Expansion depended on securing votes from the then-current NHL owners; to ensure that Pittsburgh would be selected for expansion, McGregor enlisted Rooney to petition votes from James D. Norris, owner of the Chicago Black Hawks, and his brother Bruce Norris, owner of the Detroit Red Wings.

The effort was successful, and on February 8, 1966, the NHL awarded an expansion team to Pittsburgh for the 1967–68 season. The Penguins paid $2.5 million for their entry in to the NHL and $750,000 more for start-up costs. The Civic Arena's capacity was then boosted from 10,732 to 12,500 to meet the NHL requirements for expansion. The Pens also paid an indemnification bill to settle with the Detroit Red Wings, who held the rights to the Pittsburgh Hornets. The investor group named McGregor president and chief executive officer, and he represented Pittsburgh on the NHL’s Board of Governors.[1]

After deciding on the "Penguin" nickname (which was inspired by the fact that the team was to play in the "Igloo", the nickname of the Pittsburgh Civic Arena),[2] a logo was chosen that had a penguin in front of a triangle, which symbolized the "Golden Triangle" of downtown Pittsburgh."[3]

The Penguins' first general manager was Jack Riley. His team (along with the other expansion teams) was hampered by restrictive rules that kept most major talent with the "Original Six." Beyond aging sniper Andy Bathgate and tough defenseman Leo Boivin, the first Penguins team was manned by a cast of former minor leaguers. On October 11, 1967, league president Clarence Campbell and McGregor jointly dropped the ceremonial first puck of the Penguins opening home game against the Montreal Canadiens.[1] The Penguins would go 27-34-13 that year, missing the playoffs; however, the Penguins were a mere six points out of first place in the close-fought West Division. Still, there was a great moment in their first season: on October 21, 1967, they became the first team from the expansion class to beat an Original Six team, as they defeated the Chicago Black Hawks 4-2.

Though Bathgate led the team in scoring, both he and Boivin were soon gone. Former player George Sullivan was the head coach for the club's first two seasons until being replaced by Hockey Hall of Famer Red Kelly. With the exception of a handful of decent players such as Ken Schinkel, Keith McCreary, agitator Bryan Watson, and goaltender Les Binkley, talent was otherwise thin. The Penguins missed the playoffs in five of their first seven seasons.

1970s: Falling down to bankruptcyEdit

Tragedy struck the Penguins in 1970, when promising rookie center Michel Briere, who finished third in scoring on the team, was injured in a car crash. Briere died after spending a year in the hospital, and his jersey, number 21, was the first to be retired by the franchise. The Penguins would reach the playoffs for the first time that year, advancing to the Western Conference Finals where they lost to another 1967 expansion club, the St. Louis Blues. Pittsburgh managed a playoff berth in 1972, but not much beyond that. With the Penguins battling the California Golden Seals near the division cellar in 1973–74, Riley was fired as general manager and replaced with Jack Button. Button traded for Steve Durbano, Ab DeMarco, Jr., Bob "Battleship" Kelly, and Bob Paradise. The personnel moves proved successful, as the team's play improved. The Penguins just barely missed the playoffs in 1974.

Beginning in the mid-seventies, Pittsburgh iced some powerful offensive clubs, led by the likes of the "Century Line" of Syl Apps, Jr., Lowell MacDonald and Jean Pronovost. They came tantalizingly close to reaching the Stanley Cup semifinals in 1975, but were ousted from the playoffs by the New York Islanders in one of only three best-of-seven game series in professional sports history where a team came back from being down three games to none. As the 1970s wore on, the Penguins brought in other offensive weapons such as Rick Kehoe, Pierre Larouche, and Ron Schock, along with a couple solid blue-liners such as Ron Stackhouse and Dave Burrows. But the Pens' success beyond the regular season was always neutralized by mediocre team defense. Goaltender Denis Herron was a stalwart in goal, later sharing the Vezina Trophy while with the Montreal Canadiens in 1980-81.

In 1975, the Penguins' creditors demanded payment of back debts, forcing the team into bankruptcy. The doors to the team's offices were padlocked, and it looked like the Penguins might fold or relocate. In early 1975, rumors had begun to circulate that the Penguins and California Golden Seals were to be relocated to Seattle and Denver respectively, the two cities that were to have been the sites of an expansion for the 1976-77 season. Through the intervention of a group that included former Minnesota North Stars head coach Wren Blair, the team was prevented from folding and remained in Pittsburgh.

Aldege "Baz" Bastien, a former coach and general manager of the AHL Hornets, later became general manager. The Penguins missed the playoffs in 1977–78 when their offense lagged, and Larouche was traded for Peter Mahovlich and Peter Lee. Bastien traded prime draft choices for several players whose best years were already behind them, such as Orest Kindrachuk, Tom Bladon, and Rick MacLeish, and the team would suffer in the early 1980s as a result. The decade closed with a playoff appearance in 1979 and a rousing opening series win over the Buffalo Sabres before a second-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

1980s: Trying and tankingEdit

The Penguins began the decade by changing their team colors. In January 1980, the team switched from wearing blue and white to their present-day scheme of black and gold to honor Pittsburgh's other sports teams, the Pirates and the Steelers, as well as the Flag of Pittsburgh. Both the Pirates and Steelers had worn black and gold for decades, and both were fresh off world championship seasons at that time. The Bruins protested this color change, claiming a monopoly on black and gold, but the Penguins defended their choice by stating that an early hockey club in Pittsburgh also used black and gold as their team colors. They also argued that black and gold were Pittsburgh's traditional sporting colors. The NHL agreed, and Pittsburgh was allowed to use black and gold, a color scheme since adopted as well by the Anaheim Ducks when that team changed their uniforms in 2006.

On the ice, the Penguins began the 1980s with defenseman Randy Carlyle, and prolific scorers Paul Gardner and Mike Bullard, but little else.

During the early part of the decade, the Penguins made a habit of being a tough draw for higher-seeded opponents in the playoffs. In 1980, the 13th seeded Penguins took the Bruins to the limit in their first round playoff series. The following season, as the 15th seed, they lost the decisive game of their first-round series in overtime to the heavily favored St. Louis Blues. Then, in the 1982 playoffs, the Penguins held a 3-1 lead late in the fifth and final game of their playoff series against the reigning champions, the New York Islanders. However, the Islanders rallied to force overtime and won the series on a goal by John Tonelli. It would be the Pens' final playoff appearance until 1989.

The team had the league's worst record in both the 1983 and 1984 seasons, and with the team suffering financial problems, it again looked as though the Penguins would fold. Mario Lemieux, one of the most highly touted NHL draft picks in history, was due to be drafted in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Heading towards the end of the season ahead of the New Jersey Devils, who were placed last, the Penguins made a number of questionable moves that appeared to weaken the team in the short-term. The Penguins posted three six-game winless streaks in the last 21 games of the season (out of which they won only three) and earned the right to draft Lemieux amidst protests from Devils president Bob Butera.[4] Pittsburgh coach Lou Angotti later admitted that a conscious decision was made to end with as the team with the worst record, stating in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that a mid-season lunch prompted the plan, in light of the fact that there was a high chance of the franchise folding if Lemieux was not drafted.[5] In particular, Angotti gave the example of a game the Penguins were winning 3-1, at which point general manager Eddie Johnston asked the coach "what are you doing?" in the first intermission of the game that was eventually lost 6-3. The Penguins were still, despite losing ten of their last twelve games, only two games away from losing Lemieux to the Devils.[5] However, Angotti stated that he did not feel comfortable with the plan, even though it worked and saved the franchise. Other teams offered substantial trade packages for the draft choice, but the Penguins kept the pick.

The Mario Lemieux era: 1984–1997Edit

Mario Lemieux 2001
Mario Lemieux played for the Penguins from 1984–94, 1995–97, 2000–06.

With the first overall pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft Pittsburgh selected Quebec Major Junior Hockey League superstar Mario Lemieux. He paid dividends right away, scoring on the first shot of his first shift in his first NHL game. However, the team spent four more years out of the playoffs after his arrival.

In the late 80s, the Penguins finally gave Lemieux a strong supporting cast, trading for superstar defenseman Paul Coffey from the Edmonton Oilers (after the Oilers' 1987 Stanley Cup win) and bringing in young talent such as scorers Kevin Stevens, Rob Brown, and John Cullen from the minors. Also, the team at last acquired a top-flight goaltender with the acquisition of Tom Barrasso from Buffalo. The Pens made the playoffs, but lost in the second round to their trans-Pennsylvania rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Though amassing 123 points, Lemieux missed 21 games in 1989–90 due to a herniated disk in his back, and the Pens slipped out of the playoff picture.

In 1990–91, the Penguins reached the top of the standings. They drafted Czech right-winger Jaromir Jagr in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, the first player from his country to attend an NHL draft without having to defect, and then paired him with Lemieux to form the league's biggest one-two scoring threat since Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri on the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s. Mark Recchi arrived from the minors, Bryan Trottier signed on as a free agent, and Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, Ron Francis, and Ulf Samuelsson landed in Pittsburgh via trades. The Penguins finally became the league's best team, defeating the Minnesota North Stars in the Stanley Cup finals in six games. After the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins visited the White House to meet President George H. W. Bush. They were the first NHL team to ever visit the White House.[6] The following season, the team lost coach Bob Johnson to cancer, and Scotty Bowman took over as coach. Under Bowman, they swept the Chicago Blackhawks to repeat as Stanley Cup champions in 1991-92.

Cancer nearly dealt the Penguins a double whammy in 1993. Not only were they reeling from Johnson's death, but Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Only two months after the diagnosis, his comeback was one of the league's great "feel-good" stories of all time, missing 24 out of 84 games, but winning his fourth Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion with 160 points scored, edging out Pat LaFontaine and Adam Oates for the award. Despite the off-ice difficulties, Pittsburgh finished with a 56-21-7 record, winning the franchise's first (and still only) Presidents' Trophy as the team with the most points in the regular season; the 119 points earned that year is still a franchise record. After Lemieux's return, the team played better than it ever had before, winning an NHL-record 17 consecutive games before tying the New Jersey Devils in the final game of the season. Despite all of this success, they were still eliminated in the second round by the New York Islanders in overtime of Game 7.

Stanley cup banner 1
The first Penguins Stanley Cup banner.

The Penguins continued to be a formidable team throughout the 1990s. The stars of the Stanley Cup years were followed by the likes of forwards Alexei Kovalev, Martin Straka, Aleksey Morozov, Robert Lang and Petr Nedved, and defensemen Sergei Zubov, Darius Kasparaitis and Kevin Hatcher.

Jaromir Jagr era: 1997–2001Edit

Lemieux retired in 1997. Because of Lemieux's achievements over the course of his career, the Hockey Hall of Fame waived its three-year waiting period and inducted him as an Honored Member in the same year he retired.

The captaincy was passed to Jagr and for the next 4 seasons, Jagr won 4 consecutive Art Ross Trophies. However, the Penguins were unable to match Jagr's individual success with a sustained playoff appearance, with a first round exit in 1998 despite being the second seeded team in the east followed by a second round exit in 1999 this time from eighth seed. In 2000 the Penguins stunned the highly touted Washington capitals 4-1 in the first round only to fall to their rivals the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 in the second round.

Off the ice, the Penguins were in the midst of a battle for their survival. Their free-spending ways earlier in the decade came with a price; owners Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg (who bought the Penguins after their first Cup win) had asked the players to defer their salaries. When they finally came due, combined with other financial pressures, the Penguins were forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 1998—the second such filing in franchise history.

Just when it appeared that the Pittsburgh franchise was about to either move or fold, Lemieux stepped in with an unusual proposal. By this time, he'd become one of the team's largest creditors due to being owed $30 million in deferred salary. He proposed to recover this money by converting it into equity and buying the team, and promised to keep it in Pittsburgh. The league and the court agreed, and Lemieux assumed control on September 3, 1999.

The return of Mario LemieuxEdit

Lemieux later shocked the hockey world by deciding to come back as a player who was also the owner of the team he played for. He returned to the ice on December 27, 2000, becoming the first player-owner in NHL history. Lemieux helped lead the Penguins deep into the 2001 playoffs, highlighted by an overtime victory against the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 of the second round. Kasparaitis scored the series-clinching goal to advance the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost in 5 games to the New Jersey Devils.

Still, the Penguins needed to cut costs, especially now that the huge salary of Lemieux had been added. Controversially, Jagr, their stalwart for the last four years, was traded to the Washington Capitals along with Frantisek Kucera for prospects Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk, and $4.9 million in the summer of 2001. The absence of Jagr proved devastating to the Penguins, and in 2002 they missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Further financial difficulties saw them trade fan favorite Alexei Kovalev to the New York Rangers the next season, quickly followed by the departure of Lang in free agency. The Penguins slumped to last place, where they remained for several years despite the acquisition of top draft picks.

In the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the Penguins picked with their first-overall selection goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. However, given that the 2004 Draft contained the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, the 2003–04 was expected to be a rebuilding year for the Penguins. The highly rated Fleury did not play most of the season for the Penguins for this reason. The Penguins signed new head coach (and former Penguin and commentator) Eddie Olczyk. Lemieux suffered a hip injury early in the season, and he sat out the rest of the season to recover. The Pens then traded Straka away to the Los Angeles Kings. The Penguins finished with the worst NHL record having won just 23 games, but were unable to secure the first overall draft pick as they lost the draft lottery for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft to the Washington Capitals. Alexander Ovechkin went to Washington, but the Penguins did select Evgeni Malkin with the second overall pick, a pick that would help to propel them back to a competitive level in future years.

The Penguins have suffered small-market syndrome for most of their existence, and cost-cutting prevented another collapse into insolvency. Financially, the team was one of the better-managed NHL franchises between its 1998 bankruptcy and the 2004–05 NHL lockout. Thanks to significant post-season runs, the Penguins broke even in 2000 and turned a small profit in 2001. Failure to make the playoffs in the next three seasons hurt the team's bottom line, but the shedding of contracts (such as Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka) kept the team afloat as other franchises, like the Ottawa Senators, faced significant losses or declared bankruptcy. In the 2003–04 season, they had the lowest average attendance of any team, with just 11,877 fans per game.

However, by 2005, the Penguins had paid off all of their creditors, both secured and unsecured. In fact, the court approved Lemieux's plan largely because it was intended to pay everyone the team owed.

With the 2004–05 NHL season canceled due to the NHL lockout, several Penguins signed with the club's American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, while experienced players like Aleksey Morozov and Milan Kraft honed their talents in the elite European leagues. Morozov and Kraft would stay in the elite European leagues after the 2004–05 NHL lockout.

After the lockout: 2005–presentEdit

The Penguins won an unprecedented draft lottery - where owing to their poor performance over the last few seasons they were given highest possible weighting out of all thirty teams - on July 22, 2005, for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The Penguins chose highly touted junior league player Sidney Crosby from the Rimouski Océanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by the owners and players to end the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the Penguins began rebuilding the team under a salary cap. They signed big-name free agents Sergei Gonchar, John LeClair, and Zigmund Palffy, and traded for goaltender Jocelyn Thibault. However, Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins' 2004 NHL Entry Draft selection with their 2nd overall pick, could not come to Pittsburgh immediately due to a dispute with his Russian league.

The team began the season with a long winless skid that resulted in a coaching change from Olczyk to Michel Therrien. Palffy announced his retirement due to a lingering shoulder injury while the team's second-leading scorer. Then on January 24, 2006, Lemieux announced his second retirement, this time for good, after developing an irregular heart beat. He finished as the NHL's seventh all-time scorer (1,723), eighth in goals (690) and tenth in assists (1,033), but also with the second highest career points per game average (1.88), which is second to Wayne Gretzky's 1.92.[7][8][9]

As the poor season continued, Crosby had a highly productive rookie season. On the Penguins' final game of the season, Crosby scored a goal and an assist to become the top scoring rookie in Penguins history with 102 points (eclipsing Lemieux who previously held the record), despite losing the rookie scoring race to Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin, who had, unlike Malkin who was also set to debut this season, been able to make his way to the NHL. The Penguins posted the worst record of the Eastern Conference and the highest goals-against in the league. They received the second overall draft pick after losing the lottery in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and picked Jordan Staal, the third of four Staal brothers in hockey. The team announced on April 20 that the contract for General Manager Craig Patrick would not be renewed. Patrick had been GM since December 1989. On May 25, Ray Shero signed a five-year contract as General Manager.

The real change for the Penguins came next season when on October 18, 2006, young Russian superstar Evgeni Malkin played his first NHL game : scoring a goal. He went on to set the modern NHL record with a goal in each of his first six games. On February 27, 2007, the Penguins acquired Gary Roberts from Florida and Georges Laraque from Phoenix. Malkin continued scoring points as the Penguins earned points in sixteen straight games with 14 wins and 2 overtime losses in early 2007. The streak ended on February 19 with a last-minute loss to the New York Islanders.[10] It was the second longest point streak in club history.

Relocation avoidedEdit

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had to deal with a number of threats to relocate. As early as the mid-1970s, with the Penguins struggling to make the playoffs, the ownership group experienced cash flow issues and sought to sell the team, even if it meant relocation. A decade later, a similar financial situation faced the team. As recently as the 2006–07 season, nearing the end of their most recent draft rebuild, the franchise ownership sought alternatives that would provide a return on their investment. Various prospective owners sought to buy the team; however, the Lemieux Group eventually decided to keep ownership rather than move the team to the highest bidder, thus resulting in the Penguins being set to remain in Pittsburgh. As in the mid-70s and 80s, the fanbase and local government officials were successful in persuading the ownership that Pittsburgh and the surrounding region were capable of meeting the needs of a modern NHL team. The possible relocation sites about which there was the greatest speculation and discussion were Houston, Kansas City and Oklahoma City. The decision to keep the team in Pittsburgh proved favorable, as the Penguins enjoyed franchise-record home sellouts throughout the 2007–08 NHL season and 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs - which were more successful given the presence of young superstar Evgeni Malkin - in some cases, their home playoff games were sold out in less than 15 minutes.[11][12]

New arena agreementEdit

On March 13, 2007, in a joint announcement by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group, it was made public that an agreement had been reached between the parties. A new state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena, the Consol Energy Center, will be built, guaranteeing that the Penguins will remain in Pittsburgh. Following the announcement of this plan, the Lemieux ownership group announced that they no longer have plans to sell the team.

On June 8, 2007, a $325 million bond was issued and the Penguins signed a 30-year lease, binding the Penguins to the city of Pittsburgh for the next 30 years, and the lease agreement was signed on September 19. On May 6, 2008, the Pittsburgh planning commission unanimously approved the final design. The arena will include a glass atrium overlooking downtown Pittsburgh and rooftop lights shining into the sky. The new $290 million dollar arena is expected to open in time for the 2010–11 NHL season.[13] On August 14, 2008, the ground breaking ceremony for the new arena was held, thus officially beginning construction on the new facility. On December 15, 2008, it was announced by the Penguins they had entered into an agreement with Consol Energy on a 21 year deal for naming rights to the new arena.

The Penguins finished the 2006–07 season in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 47-24-11, totaling 105 points, only two points behind the division winner, New Jersey Devils. It was the franchise's first 100-point season in 11 years, and represented a healthy 47-point leap from the previous season. In the first round of the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Penguins were defeated 4-1, by Stanley Cup runners-up, the Ottawa Senators. At the season's end, rookies Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal were finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the Rookie of the Year, which Malkin won.

After a mediocre start to the 2007–08 season, Crosby and starting goaltender Fleury were both injured long-term due to high right ankle sprains. In their absence, the Penguins flourished due to the play and leadership of center Evgeni Malkin and backup goaltender Ty Conklin. The Penguins markedly improved in January, and fell no lower than the third seed in the East from that point onward. On February 26, the Penguins would acquire Atlanta star right winger Marian Hossa and forward Pascal Dupuis at the NHL trade deadline, relinquishing Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito, and a first round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The Penguins also acquired defensemen Hal Gill from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a second round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and a fifth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

On April 2, 2008, the Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title—their first division title in 10 years—with a 4-2 win against rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. However, they closed the season with a loss to the Flyers on the next night, relegating them to the second seed in the East behind the Montreal Canadiens. The Pens had spent most of the second half going back and forth with the Habs for first place in the East. Evgeni Malkin finished the season with 106 points for second place in the league just behind Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and become a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The team launched into their first extended playoff run in many years, beating Ottawa 4-0, defeating the New York Rangers 4-1 and then defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 to clinch the Prince of Wales Trophy. Pittsburgh went on to lose the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals to the Detroit Red Wings in six games, finishing the playoffs with a 14-6 record. Sidney Crosby finished the playoffs with 27 points (6g, 21a in 20 games), tying Conn Smythe-winner Henrik Zetterberg (13g, 14a in 22 games) for the playoff scoring lead.

2008–09 season: Third Stanley CupEdit

In the 2008-09 season, Malkin had won the Art Ross by narrowly defeating rival Ovechkin in the points race and a candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy for MVP. Crosby finished third in league scoring with 33 goals and 70 assists for 103 points despite missing 5 games. The Penguins' record dipped mid-season but lifted after head coach Michel Therrien was replaced by Dan Bylsma. The effect was almost instantaneous and the Penguins recovered enough to secure home ice advantage in their first round matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers, who the Penguins defeated in six games. The next round was highly publicized due to the presence of Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin. The series took all seven games for the Penguins to win, sending them to the Eastern Conference Finals where they beat the Carolina Hurricanes in four games. After defeating the Hurricanes, the Penguins earned their second consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings, to whom they had lost the previous year. After losing Games 1 and 2 in Detroit, the Penguins won Games 3 and 4 in Pittsburgh. Each team won on home ice in Games 5 and 6. In Game 7 in Detroit, Max Talbot scored two goals and the Penguins won 2–1 to earn their third Stanley Cup.[14]

Logos and uniformsEdit

With the exception of the 1992–2001 period, the Penguins have used a variation of the "skating penguin" logo since the team's inception. For their inaugural season, the logo featured a hefty-looking skating penguin wearing a scarf, on a yellow triangle inside a circle reading "Pittsburgh Penguins". The yellow triangle is a reference to the Golden Triangle in the city of Pittsburgh. General manager Jack Riley felt the team's name and logo were ridiculous, and refused to have either appear on the team's uniforms, which featured only the word "PITTSBURGH" diagonally. A refined version of the logo appeared on a redesigned uniform in the second season, which removed the scarf and gave the penguin a sleeker, "meaner" look. The circle encompassing the logo was removed mid-season in 1971–72.

The team's colors were originally powder blue, navy blue and white. The powder blue was changed to royal blue in 1974, but returned in 1977. The team adopted the current black and gold color scheme in January 1980 (the announcement was made at halftime of Super Bowl XIV) to unify the colors of the city's professional sports teams, although like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers, the shade of gold more closely resembled yellow.

This would remain unchanged until the 1992–93 season, when the team unveiled new uniforms and a new logo. The logo featured a modern-looking "flying penguin". Although the logo survived in various forms for 15 years, it received mixed responses from fans and was never as widely accepted as the "skating penguin" logo. Longtime KDKA-TV anchor Bill Burns even went as far as calling the penguin in the logo "a pigeon."

After Mario Lemieux (a personal fan of the "skating penguin" logo) purchased the team from bankruptcy court in 1999, he announced plans to bring back the "skating penguin" logo. This occurred for the 2000–01 season, when the team revived the logo (albeit with a "Vegas gold" triangle instead of yellow) on the chest of the team's new alternate jerseys. The following season, the logo became the primary logo, and the "flying penguin" logo (also with a "Vegas gold" triangle instead of yellow) was relegated to secondary status, and only on the shoulders of the team's jerseys, until it was quietly retired in 2007 when the team introduced their version of the Rbk Edge uniforms.

The uniforms themselves have changed several times over the years. The original jerseys from the team's first season had diagonal text reading "Pittsburgh". Currently, only images of these uniforms survive, although the jersey is available in NHL Hitz 20-03 as an alternate jersey for the team. The uniforms themselves were discovered nearly thirty years later in a garbage bag by a Civic Arena employee at the arena. Due to the years of neglect in the bag, the uniforms were damaged beyond repair. The following season, a revised version of the logo was used on a completely redesigned uniform. Player names were first added in 1970.

Until 1977, the team had some minor striping patterns on the jerseys change every few years. But in 1977, the team basically adopted their longest-lasting uniform style to date and a style they would wear for the next 16 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup twice in the process. When the colors were swapped from blue and white to black and gold in 1980, the uniform patterns themselves remained unchanged. This was likely due to the fact that the change was made in the middle of the season. From the 1981–82 season to the 1984–85 season, the team had a gold "Sunday" jersey, called as such because the team only worn them on Sundays. This was a rare example of an NHL team having a third jersey before the rule allowing such jerseys was officially implemented in 1995.

After winning their second Stanley Cup in 1992, the team completely redesigned their uniforms and introduced the "flying penguin" logo. The team's away uniforms were somewhat of a throwback to the team's first season, as they revived the diagonal "Pittsburgh" script. In 1995, the team introduced their second alternate jersey, which was a black Penguins jersey with the team's logo and had blue accents, an obvious throwback to the original team colors. This jersey would prove to be so popular that the team adopted it as their away jersey in 1997.

In 2000, the team unveiled yet another alternate jersey, the aforementioned black jersey featuring the revival of the "skating penguin" logo. This would later prove to be a test to see how the revived logo would do with fans, and the following season became the team's away uniform with a white version as the team's home jersey. When the Rbk Edge jerseys were unveiled for the 2007–08 season leaguewide, the Penguins made some major striping pattern changes and quietly removed the "flying penguin" logo from the shoulders. They also added a "Pittsburgh 250" gold circular patch to the shoulders to commemorate the 250th birthday of the city of Pittsburgh.

While the Penguins, as with the rest of the NHL, have worn their dark jerseys at home since the league made the initiative to do so starting with the 2003–04 NHL season, the team wore their white jerseys in some home games during the 2007–08 NHL season and at least once during the 2008–09 NHL season, as well as wearing their powder blue, 1968–72 throwbacks against the Buffalo Sabres in the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic. On November 5, 2008, this jersey was introduced as the current third jersey. This was worn for select home games during the 2008–09 season as well as the 2009-2010 season.

Season-by-season recordEdit

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Penguins.

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Records as of April 7, 2007.[15][16]

Pittsburgh Penguins logo
Penguins' season-by-season record
Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
2004–05 Season cancelled due to 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–06 82 22 46 14 58 244 316 1539 5th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2006–07 82 47 24 11 105 277 246 1211 2nd, Atlantic Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1-4 (Senators)
2007–08 82 47 27 8 102 247 216 1155 1st, Atlantic Lost in Finals, 2-4 (Red Wings)
2008–09 82 45 28 9 99 264 239 1114 2nd, Atlantic Stanley Cup Champions, 4-3 (Red Wings)
1 As of the 2005–06 NHL season, all games will have a winner; the OTL column includes SOL (Shootout losses).

Notable playersEdit

Current rosterEdit

Updated May 13, 2010.

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
27 Flag of Canada.svg Adams, CraigCraig Adams

C/RW R 36 2009 Seria, Brunei
18 Flag of the United States Conner, ChrisChris Conner

RW L 30 2009 Westland, Michigan
24 Flag of Canada.svg Cooke, MattMatt Cooke

LW L 35 2008 Belleville, Ontario
87 Flag of Canada.svg Crosby, SidneySidney Crosby

 (C)

C L 26 2005 Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
36 Flag of the United States Curry, JohnJohn Curry

G L 30 2007 Shorewood, Minnesota
9 Flag of Canada.svg Dupuis, PascalPascal Dupuis

LW L 35 2008 Laval, Quebec
7 Flag of the United States Eaton, MarkMark Eaton

D L 36 2006 Wilmington, Delaware
5 Flag of Canada.svg Engelland, DerykDeryk Engelland

D L 32 2007 Edmonton, Alberta
26 Flag of Ukraine Fedotenko, RuslanRuslan Fedotenko

LW L 35 2008 Kiev, Soviet Union
29 Flag of Canada.svg Fleury, Marc-AndreMarc-Andre Fleury

G L 29 2003 Sorel, Quebec
28 Flag of Canada.svg Godard, EricEric Godard

RW R 34 2008 Vernon, British Columbia
3 Flag of the United States Goligoski, AlexAlex Goligoski

D L 28 2004 Grand Rapids, Minnesota
55 Flag of Russia Gonchar, SergeiSergei Gonchar

 (A)

D L 40 2005 Chelyabinsk, Soviet Union
13 Flag of the United States Guerin, BillBill Guerin

RW R 43 2009 Worcester, Massachusetts
15 Flag of Canada.svg Jeffrey, DustinDustin Jeffrey

C L 26 2007 Sarnia, Ontario
1 Flag of the United States Johnson, BrentBrent Johnson

G L 37 2009 Farmington, Michigan
42 Flag of Canada.svg Johnson, NickNick Johnson

RW R 28 2004 Calgary, Alberta
38 Flag of Canada.svg Letestu, MarkMark Letestu

C R 29 2007 Elk Point, Alberta
48 Flag of Canada.svg Kennedy, TylerTyler Kennedy

RW R 27 2007 Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
14 Flag of Canada.svg Kunitz, ChrisChris Kunitz

LW L 34 2009 Regina, Saskatchewan
4 Flag of the United States Leopold, JordanJordan Leopold

D L 33 2010 Golden Valley, Minnesota
58 Flag of Canada.svg Letang, KristopherKristopher Letang

D R 27 2005 Montreal, Quebec
6 Flag of the United States Lovejoy, BenBen Lovejoy

D R 30 2008 Concord, New Hampshire
71 Flag of Russia Malkin, EvgeniEvgeni Malkin

 (A)

C/RW L 27 2004 Magnitogorsk, Soviet Union
74 Flag of Canada.svg McKee, JayJay McKee

D L 36 2009 Kingston, Ontario
44 Flag of the United States Orpik, BrooksBrooks Orpik

D L 33 2000 San Francisco, California
23 Flag of Ukraine Ponikarovsky, AlexeiAlexei Ponikarovsky

LW L 34 2010 Kiev, Soviet Union
17 Flag of the United States Rupp, MichaelMichael Rupp

C/LW L 34 2009 Cleveland, Ohio
11 Flag of Canada.svg Staal, JordanJordan Staal

C L 25 2006 Thunder Bay, Ontario
25 Flag of Canada.svg Talbot, MaximeMaxime Talbot

C/RW L 30 2002 LeMoyne, Quebec
56 Flag of the United States Tangradi, EricEric Tangradi

LW L 25 2009 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
49 Flag of Canada.svg Thiessen, BradBrad Thiessen

G L 28 2009 Aldergrove, British Columbia
20 Flag of the United States Wagner, SteveSteve Wagner

D L 30 2010 Grand Rapids, Michigan
22 Flag of the United States Wallace, TimTim Wallace

LW R 29 2006 Anchorage, Alaska

Hall of FamersEdit

Players
Builders
  • Scotty Bowman, director of player development & head coach, (1990–93) inducted 1991
  • Bob Johnson, head coach, (1990–91) inducted 1992
  • Craig Patrick, GM & head coach, (1989–06) inducted 2001
  • Herb Brooks, head coach, (1999–00) inducted 2006
Other

Penguins Hall of FameEdit

  • Bob Johnson, head coach (1990-91) inducted 1992
  • Jean Pronovost, RW (1968-78) inducted 1992
  • Rick Kehoe, RW (1974-85) inducted 1992
  • Syl Apps, Jr., C (1970-78) inducted 1994
  • Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., owner (1977-91) inducted 1996
  • Dave Burrows, D (1971-78, 1980-82) inducted 1996
  • Elaine Heufelder, front office (1967-2003) inducted 1996
  • Mario Lemieux, C (1984-97, 2000-06), owner (1999-present) inducted 1999
  • Jack Riley, GM (1967-70, 1972-74) inducted 1999
  • Joe Mullen, RW (1990-95, 1996-97) inducted 2000
  • Craig Patrick, GM (1989-2006) inducted 2001
  • Mike Lange, broadcaster (1974-75, 1976-present) inducted 2001
  • Anthony "A.T." Caggiano, locker room (1967-2000) inducted 2001
  • Les Binkley, G (1967-1972) inducted 2003
  • Ulf Samuelsson, D (1991-1995) inducted 2003
  • Vince Lascheid, organist (1970-2003) inducted 2003
  • Paul Coffey, D (1987-1992) inducted 2007
  • Frank Sciulli, locker room (1967-2007) inducted 2007

Team captainsEdit


Retired numbersEdit

  • 21 Michel Briere, C (1969–70) taken out of circulation following his death (1971) but not officially retired until January 5, 2001
  • 66 Mario Lemieux, C (1984–97) & (2000–06) number retired November 19, 1997; his number was "unretired" when he began his comeback on December 27, 2000. '66' was then re-retired on October 5, 2006.
  • 99 Wayne Gretzky, C: Number retired league-wide by NHL on February 6, 2000 (No official banner at Mellon Arena)

Penguins' Ring of HonorEdit

A mural honoring members of the franchise's "Millennium Team", it was first displayed September 26, 2003.[18] This is a permanent display at Mellon Arena designed to honor past greats without having to retire their numbers. Current members are:


Franchise scoring leadersEdit

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Penguins player

Pittsburgh Penguins logo
Penguins' all-time scoring leaders
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Flag of Canada Mario Lemieux C 915 690 1033 1723 1.88
Flag of the Czech Republic Jaromír Jágr RW 806 439 640 1079 1.34
Flag of Canada Rick Kehoe RW 722 312 324 636 .88
Flag of Canada Ron Francis C 533 144 449 613 1.15
Flag of Canada Jean Pronovost RW 753 316 287 603 .80
Flag of Canada Kevin Stevens LW 522 260 295 555 1.06
Flag of Canada Syl Apps, Jr. C 495 151 349 500 1.01
Flag of the Czech Republic Martin Straka C 560 165 277 442 .79
Flag of Canada Paul Coffey D 331 108 332 440 1.33
Flag of Canada Sidney Crosby C 323 153 285 438 1.36

NHL awards and trophiesEdit

Stanley Cup

Presidents' Trophy

Prince of Wales Trophy

Art Ross Trophy

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Calder Memorial Trophy

Conn Smythe Trophy

Frank J. Selke Trophy

Hart Memorial Trophy

James Norris Memorial Trophy

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Lester B. Pearson Award

Lester Patrick Trophy

NHL Plus/Minus Award

NHL All-Star Game MVP

NHL All-Rookie Team

First Team All-Star

Second Team All-Star


Franchise individual recordsEdit

Season

  • Most goals in a season: Mario Lemieux, 85 (1988–89)
  • Most assists in a season: Mario Lemieux, 114 (1988–89)
  • Most points in a season: Mario Lemieux, 199 (1988–89)
  • Most penalty minutes in a season: Paul Baxter, 409 (1981–82)
  • Most points in a season, defenseman: Paul Coffey, 113 (1988–89)
  • Most points in a season, rookie: Sidney Crosby, 102 (2005–06)
  • Most wins in a season: Tom Barrasso, 43 (1992–93)

Playoffs

  • Most Goals in a playoff season: Kevin Stevens, 17 (1990-91)
  • Most Assists in a playoff Season: Mario Lemieux, 28 (1990-91)
  • Most Points in a playoff Season: Mario Lemieux, 44 (1990-91)
  • Most Points in a playoff Season, defenseman: Larry Murphy,23 (1990-91)
  • Most wins in a playoff season: Tom Barrasso, 16 (1991–92) and Marc-Andre Fleury, 16 (2008–09)
  • Lowest goals against average in a playoff season: Ron Tugnutt, 1.77 (1999–00)
  • Highest save percentage in a playoff season: Ron Tugnutt, .945% (1999–00)
  • Most playoff shutouts: Tom Barrasso, 6
  • Most shutouts in a playoff season: Marc-Andre Fleury, 3 (2007–08)
  • Most consecutive games in a single playoff with multiple points: Evgeni Malkin, 6 (2009)

Current staff Edit

MediaEdit

The Penguins currently have their radio home on WXDX-FM and their television home is on Fox Sports Pittsburgh.

The Penguins recently started their own 24-hour radio channel on HD Radio, with WXDX converting their adult album alternative digital subchannel on HD-2 into a 24-hour Penguins channel. The channel will feature the NHL’s own daily “NHL Live” and league commissioner Gary Bettman’s weekly “NHL Hour,” in addition to local programming. The team becomes the first NHL team with its own radio channel, and joins the National Football League's Dallas Cowboy as the second professional sports team to have such a channel.[19]

BroadcastersEdit

TelevisionEdit

  • Paul Steigerwald, play-by-play
  • Bob Errey, color commentator
  • Dan Potash, sideline reporter

RadioEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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