Pittsbury Pinguins Essay Research Paper INTRODUCTIONPittsburgh penguins

Pittsbury Pinguins Essay, Research Paper


Pittsburgh penguins are a team that interests me mainly because of my brother. As I was talking to him one night about my this report, I asked him if there were any sports teams in particular that he was interested in that weren t too popular around this area. He told me that the NHL playoffs were coming up, and the team that he was very much into was the Pittsburgh Penguins. I had asked him if there was a particular place where I could look up information on this team. He then told me that he had a couple of books lying around on this team and also knew of a few websites that he went on to check out scores, injury reports, news on the team and plenty more on this team. I told him that I needed to find more than just current information; I needed things like the history, and profiles of players. Appreciatively, he told me it would be no problem and if I needed help that he would be glad to. The only thing that I might have a problem with would be the coaches. In hockey, the coaches don t get as much fame as people would think they do because they don t really have that much to do with the outcome. These couches don t have to draw up plays, substitute players at the right times, or anything more then that. This might be a small obstacle I d have to go through, yet dealing with it and gathering up all the information I have to get for couches wont be as hard as I think it will be. Amazingly, there are many books, sites, magazines that I could check out to do this.

Method of research

Mostly all the places I researched at for my information were amazingly helpful. My brother, since he knows a lot more about the penguins and hockey in general than I will ever know, was the most helpful source of my research report. One of the best websites that was helpful to me, second to my brother was pittsburghpenguins.com; this site had a lot of useful information and also had many links in which I could use to look up other things such as the history of the NHL. The worst site I used was probably sportsillustrated.com. Every time would try to search for something on that website, the results came up with something totally unrelated to what I was looking for. It was good for the story on Mario Lemieux, one of the players, but besides that it was a worthless site.

League History

The league, in which the penguins play, the NHL, was started in 1917.

The NHL is an organization of professional ice hockey teams in North America, formed in 1917 by five Canadian teams, to which the first U.S. team, the Boston Bruins, was added in 1924. The NHL became the strongest league in North America and in 1926 took permanent possession of the Stanley Cup, representing world supremacy in ice hockey. Headquarters are in Montreal.

League membership rose to 10, then dropped, and held steady at 6 after 1942. After various periods of expansion and reorganization, the NHL in the mid-1990s consisted of 26 teams in two conferences and four divisions.

Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division: Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, and Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals.

Northeast Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Hartford Whalers, Montreal Canadians, Ottawa Senators, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Western Conference:

Central Division: Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs.

Pacific Division: Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks. (Site 1)

Team History

The team s history started in 1967 and had a little controversy over what name to give the franchise. There was a lot of work to be done, of course, and one of the first tasks was naming the team. (Part-owner Peter) Block was adamant that it would not be called the Hornets. “There was some (support) for it, but I basically said I wouldn’t allow it,” he said. “The Hornets were a minor-league team. I knew we were going to get some bad players (in the expansion draft), and I didn’t want to be called just another minor-league team.”

The obligatory newspaper contest was launched in the Post-Gazette, but (part-owner Jack) McGregor’s wife, the former Carol Dangerfield of Edgewood, had already found one she liked.

“When Jack got the franchise, he was so thrilled,” she remembered. “Then he said, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to name it.’ I said, ‘I love to think of things like that.’ I was thinking of something with a P. And I said to Jack, ‘What do they call the Civic Arena?’ And he said, ‘The Big Igloo.’ So I thought, ice. . .Pittsburgh. . . Penguins.

“We talked about other names, but we kept coming back to the Penguins. Our friends really liked it. We pictured the uniforms being black and white.”

McGregor believes word of ownership’s choice leaked out, which explained why more than 700 of the 26,000 contests entries bore the name Penguins. Ownership’s choice was announced on Feb. 10, 1967, and five days later the name of Emily Roberts of Belle Vernon was drawn as the contest winner, making her the first Penguins’ season ticket holder. (History of 30 years)

Notes from Bob Grove:

There was some serious opposition to the name, even by members of the management. GM Jack Riley didn’t like it at all. Riley, by the way, was the guy who gave the Penguins’ first uniforms their colors: Columbia Blue, Navy Blue and white. They copied the colors of the famed St. Michael’s Majors junior team in Toronto.

Significant Events

One of the major events in the Penguins history was the taking over of the franchise by Mario Lemieux. He was their greatest player of all time and took the team over at a time when it was in danger of going bankrupt and possibly having to relocate. Randy Carlyle, 1981-82 to 1983-84 finished presiding over the bankruptcy court proceedings that led to the approval of Mario Lemieux’s purchase of the Penguins on Sept. 3, he reflected on Lemieux’s potential impact: “If he runs this team the way he played the game, we will all be pleased.” (Sports Illustrated) Penguin s fans immediately expressed their happiness. Within hours of Lamiae s takeover, the Penguins sold nearly 100 season tickets, and at press time the team had sold about 9,100 season plans, up 800 from last year’s total. Limoux, 35, the most dominant athlete in Pittsburgh history, who retired after the 1996-97 season with 613 career goals, has become the linchpin of the Penguins’ marketing campaign. His likeness appears on billboards throughout the city, clad in his old uniform as well as in a business suit. He swiftly endeared himself to the faithful by slashing some ticket prices by 20% and creating $10 seats for children. “I want kids to be able to come see their heroes,” he says. (Cont. sports ill.)


There were many players in Pittsburgh s team history that warrant being mentioned, even though I am only going to mention a few. The one that stands out the most would be Mario Lemieux. He was the greatest penguins player of all time and in my opinion in the top 5 of the greatest hockey players of all time. When he came in 84 he took the league by storm, setting new records and winning the rookie of the year in a landslide. After being dominant for so long and leading his team to championships in 90-91 and 91-92, he retired from hockey in 96 because of problems with leukemia and wanting to spend more time with his son (site3). He saved the franchise from bankruptcy and possible relocation when he purchased the team from the previous owners. Ticket sales went up immediately when Lemieux bought the team and became the spokesperson for the new Pittsburgh Penguins. Then in just this past season, Lemieux made another comeback out of retirement. This time he became the first player/owner in the NHL. A lot of people thought when Lemieux came back that he would be effective, but nowhere near where he was before. Well Lemieux proved everyone wrong again. Not only was he effective, he was once again one of the top players in the league overall. In just about 20 games played he was the leading vote getter for the all-star game. Also, he has averaged almost a goal a game since his comeback, and about 1.5 points a game. I think Mario Lemieux s name should be mentioned along with the other greats such as Gordie Howe and Rocket Reshard. If you don t do this you are doing a great injustice to a man who has accomplished so much for himself, his team, his family, and his city (site3).

Jaromir Jagr is probably right now considered the best player in the world. He is the current captain of the penguins and leads the league in scoring. In the playoffs him and Mario Lemieux make it very difficult for teams to defend against the penguins because in him and Lemieux they have arguably the 2 best offensive players in the game right now. Jagr is a big strong guy with blazing speed and a soft touch that is just a deadly combination. He has led the league in scoring the past two years and if he keeps up the way he is going I am sure he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame (site 2).

Alexei Kovalev is not a real known member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The reason I like him though is because he knows how to pick his spots and play of the two superstars in Jagr and Lemieux. While the other team is putting all their efforts into those two threats, Kovalev just waits in the wings ready to strike when least expected. Kovalev is not a big man, a lot smaller than most defensemen, but he fears nobody. I have never seen him back down against any challenge, be it fighting or otherwise. Kovalev was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers in 94 and has been a mainstay with the Penguins ever since (site2).

Ron Francis was the player who had to pick up the slack when Lemieux left for the first time in 94. He had played in Lemieuxs shadow for the previous seasons, and finally became team leader when Lemieux stepped down. Although he didn t lead his team to any championships, he did a lot better than people expected him too. He was later traded because of money issues, and it was one of the worst moves the Penguins have ever made.


Scotty Bowman was the most famous coach in penguin s history. He led them to their second Stanley cup in 91-92 and is now coach of the mighty redwings. His coaching style is unique but effective (History first 30 years). The players respond to him not because he yells and screams all the time, but because he just plays whoever is playing the best. He doesn t keep playing one guy just because he is a superstar and is making a bunch of money if he isn t producing. He will play the guy who is producing regardless of salary or stature in the team.

Eddie Johnston is a man who is the exact opposite of Scotty Bowman but achieves the same results. There wasn t much information on this man but I can tell you he is still a great coach.


This year I predict that the team will go far into the playoffs but not win the whole thing. Right now the Penguins are too flashy on offense to succeed over the course of the playoffs. You need tough defense to make it far in today s NHL. If they can ever put together a decent defense they might be unstoppable with the scoring power of Lemieux and Jagr in the front.


All in all I did like doing this report. I learned a lot of new information about a team and a sport I had no interest in before, and it gave me a respect for the game of hockey that I never had before. It doesn t make me want to research anymore than I already have, but it might make me pay more attention next time I see hockey on T.V. and appreciate what the players do.


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