Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins

Posted by TL on 2020 Feb 7th

The Pittsburgh Penguins, like many other pro-sports teams has a complicated story that has evolved over the years, the story of the Pens however, has many unique twists and turns. The Penguins were founded in 1967 and was 1 of 6 teams added to the NHL for the 1967-68 NHL season taking the league from 6 teams to 12, marking the end of the era now known as the Original 6 era. The team was competitive at various points during their first 17 years in the league, but also suffered many hardships. Their fortunes changed at the conclusion of the 1984 NHL season, where after finishing dead-last they were awarded the opportunity to draft the young man who would one day own the franchise, which of course would be; Mario Lemeiux.

Super Mario, would lead the Pens to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in 1991 and 1992, all while cementing his legacy as one of the NHL's best to ever play the game. Lemieux propelled the Penguins to the glory land, as well as garnering more support than previously seen thanks to the magnificent plays of him and his teammates. However, the good times of the early-90s eventually faded and near the turn of the century the Penguins began to mirror their early-80s selves. The fate of the franchise would change once again after their saviour of the mid-80s (Lemieux), would take ownership control, while this stabilized the front office - the on-ice performances in the early 2000s led to more opportunity for the Penguins.

The Pens were able to select Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in the first round of the NHL drafts from 2003-2005, which led to the teams re-emergence into the light. This trio would eventually lead Pittsburgh back to the winner's circle in 2009 when they defeated the Detroit Red Wings in the final, the team was captained by Sidney Crosby, with the former face of the franchise watching on form the owners box. Pittsburgh has become the team that everyone else aspires to be - selecting a core group of players to build around for continued success, many started to doubt this model when it seemed they were a one-and done kind of winner. Any doubts the pundits had were erased when the Penguins captured back-to-back Stanley Cups for the second time in franchise history in 2016 and 2017. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are still cornerstones of the Penguins, leading the team to 3 Stanley Cup victories since their arrival, all while continuing to terrorize opposing NHL goalies. 

What about Mario? Well he continues to be the champion for the team on and off the ice being a key part in 5 Stanley Cups (2 as a player and 3 as an owner - the only player in NHL history to do this). The story of the Penguins is one of perseverance, persistence, and a will to succeed.