Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pittsburgh Penguins Win Lord Stanley's Cup, Thank You Mario Lemieux

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins hoist the greatest trophy in all of sports, the Stanley Cup trophy after winning an epic seven game series over the Detroit Red Wings. Watching players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury celebrate is an enjoyable experience that makes you proud to be a fan. However Penguins fans everywhere know that this would never had happened and this franchise owes it's existance to one man, Mario Lemieux and watching him carry the trophy around the ice bring goosebumps to those of us who know what he means to this team.

On the ice, Super Mario, as many fans love to refer to him, helped lead the Penguins to two Stanley Cup championships in the early 1990's. The man won three Hart trophys (League MVP), two Conn Smythe trophies (Finals MVP) and six Art Ross trophies (leading the NHL in scoring). Kids and adults alike wore that 88 Super Mario jersey with pride knowing he was a truly talented player. However, a lot of that potential was cut short due to bouts with Hodgkin's Disease and back injuries that probably prevented the Penguins from winning even more Cups. It is also the opinion of many fans and critics that if not for those conditions, Super Mario would have surpassed Wayne Gretzky as the best player in the history of the NHL.

Off the ice, when Super Mario retired once and for all, he became the owner who saved the franchise he played so hard to win with all those years. When they were suffering financial difficulties, Mario was the hero once again saving the franchise and helping to find funding for a new arena which will help generate more money for the Penguins. It was rumored that had the deal not been made, the Penguins could have moved to Kansas City but the deal was made and fans across Pittsburgh were excited again. Anyone who knows Pittsburgh, knows how passionate those fans are about their hockey team and moving them away would have cost more then jobs at the arena but also political ramifications for not providing the right tools to keep them there.

Sidney Crosby is considered the future of this team and a great face for the franchise but it is Mario Lemieux who is the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Super Mario deserves all the credit for the success and future of this team in Pittsburgh. He has helped build and finance this team as an owner building a great core of players in Malkin, Crosby, Fleury, Talbot and Staal. So while the Cup is being passed from player to player as the time honored tradition takes place, many Penguins fans everywhere are giving their thanks to Super Mario for all that he has done. On behalf of Penguins fans everywhere, thank you Mario for the great memories and unlimited potential the Pittsburgh Penguins have to become the best franchise in the NHL.

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