Sunday, August 08, 2010

Mount Puckmore: The 5 Faces Of the Pittsburgh Penguins

[Note: As the off-season time pushes along further away, hockey bloggers and writers have to keep themselves writing so that they won't be bored or lose interest. So, the senior writers over at Yahoo! Sports Hockey blogs have decided to let other bloggers feature and pick the top 4 players to represent the franchise in a monument like the famous Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota.]

Even though Confessions of a Hockey Fanatic is and always will be a hockey neutral weblog, I suppose for the interim, I will chose to stay with my hometown team, the Pittsburgh Penguins and pick my 4 players that should be considered for the virtual "Puckmore". I had a considerable difficulty in deciding the last spot in the 43 year history. Even though the Penguins have employed some talented and future hall of famers, some players have been disqualified for a short tenure. I should also make mention that there are many players on the all-time Penguins roster that could easily be heads on other team's monuments.

Let's get to my selections....

For the 4 featured players in a Pittsburgh Penguins franchise "Mount Puckmore"

1. Mario Lemieux - No Brainer. Not only does he continue to amaze fans with a business prowess in his post-career, fans often had their jaws lowered while watching Mario work his magic. Mario deserves to be up there for not only his talents, but choosing to adopt the city as his own and raise a family. He is the first and foremost ideal franchise player who continues to shine on.

His records on the team still stand with most goals, assists, and points in one Penguins season, but the most unique record that Mario lays claim is the NHL record of 5 goals in different ways in one game in 1988(shorthanded, full strength, powerplay, penalty shot, and empty net) to which no one has ever been able to duplicate.

2.) Jaromir Jagr - He remains second on the team with 1,079 career points, but it was his graceful talent, just like Mario and others, that caught the eyes of fans and not on the box score. He came on to the Penguins as a rookie 3rd liner and won the Stanley Cup. Next year, he won another ring while he sliced through opposing defenses like how he learned English.

But while Jagr's reputation in the city as a player and as a man is tarnished with the locker room antics and subsequent lopsided trade to Washington, it was all on display that the man could actually be a perpetual scoring threat each moment he was on the ice.

3.) Sidney Crosby - What can't this kid do? The young man who was singled out to be a record breaker in the NHL proved himself that he could endure the heaviest scrutiny in the new electronic media's 21st century, could also rally an entire city around the hope that future glory was in reach. If it weren't for Sidney's desire to win and help his teammates around him to be better, the Penguins would be in Kansas City or worse - Hamilton, Ontario.

Besides Mario Lemieux, Sid is the only other Penguins captain with the honor of being presented with the Stanley Cup. He became a young captain, but a precocious player who is already 7th in the franchise's scoring list.

and the last spot on the "Mount Puckmore" goes to.....

4.) Larry Murphy - His defensive skills frustrated opposing teams and he racked up a ton of points while being one of the top consistent blue line players. Already an established player on other teams before reaching the Penguins, he was an integral part of the 1990s teams that are considered to be one of the best dynasties in history.

Murphy also made his mark on the Penguins franchise after having the franchise play-by-play announcer coin the term "Murphy dump" when the puck was cleared out of the zone while airborne resulting in no icing infractions.

Consideration can also be given to these players who get the "runner up" in the franchise players of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Evgeni Malkin, Jean Pronovost, Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Tom Barrasso, Pierre Larouche, and Mike Lange.

I had a lot of fun with this. I think I will offer up some other teams as August rolls along.
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