Life is hard. We all have jobs to do, families to take care of, classes to pass or maybe even some combination of all three. Each week brings a new challenge in some way, shape or form. At Pens Labyrinth, we know exactly how you feel because we are right there with you, and we’re here to help. Introducing The Wednesday Warrior, a weekly survival guide created exclusively for the Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
This series aims to bring the perfect combination of Pittsburgh Penguins and NHL news, history, lifestyle and more in an effort to help you get over that dreaded midweek hump.
So sit back, relax, pour another cup of coffee and make sure the boss isn’t looking. Let’s go.
I’ll be completely honest with you, I’m no journalist and I won’t be breaking any crazy, new Pittsburgh Penguins news. However, with that being said, I plan on bringing you the biggest Pens news of the week so you can keep up during water cooler talk and look cool at work.
So, the NHL Draft has come and gone this weekend. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The night started with the Pens giving up their opening round pick to St. Louis for right-winger Ryan Reaves. Hopefully, the 6’1″ 224-pound winger can shore up an offense that, if things go sour, could lose a powerful presence in unprotected free agent, Chris Kunitz.
Then, in the second round, the Stanley Cup champions selected 18 year-old Zachary Lauzon out of Rouyn-Noranda in the QMJHL. The lefty defenseman was the 51st overall pick in the draft. While he does not seem to be a huge offensive asset (he scored just 3 goals in 63 games last year), his physicality and youthfulness could be just what an injury-prone back line needs.
In the third round, the Penguins picked yet another defenseman in 17-year old Clayton Phillips from the USHL. At just 5’10”, Phillips may be small, but his mobility could prove useful as the Pens seek to improve on their fast style of play.
To round out the rest of the draft, the Penguins went on to select Jan Drozg (LW), Linus Olund (C), Antti Palojarvi (D) and William Reilly (D). This defense-heavy draft looks to be a way to ensure that the team will be able to have options come time the inevitable injury bug hits the Penguins. I look forward to seeing these guys get some ice time and mature as players.
Mark Recchi to Hall of Fame
On Monday, former Penguin Mark Recchi was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
First drafted by the Penguins in 1988, the winger was a member of seven different NHL teams during his 22 year-long career. He would play for the Pens on three separate occasions. He totaled seven years, 154 goals and 385 points with the team. Recchi was a part of the storied ’91 and ’92 championship teams.
Currently, Recchi serves as the director of player development for the Penguins. He holds this position after serving as a player development coach since 2014.
Stat of the Week
Stats are cool. They attach a number to every aspect of the game and allow us to compare every player from every era of the game. Stats can range from the obviously important (goals, assists, etc.), to the more obscure (shifts per game). Each week, we will take a look at a particular stat category and learn a little bit about its history for the Penguins and the league as a whole. You’ll kill it at trivia night after reading this each week.
It’s the first edition of The Wednesday Warrior so I figured I’d start with the stat that matters the most. Goals. You try to get the puck in the net more times than the other team and you win. It sounds simple enough. Some teams are better at it than others, some players are better at it than others. Whether they come from a slap shot, wrister, redirect or just pure luck, goals are the most important stat in the game. For this week, we will look at regular season goal scorers.
- All-Time Individual Leaders:
- Wayne Gretzky (you may have heard of him) — 894
- Gordie Howe — 801
- Jaromir Jagr — 765
- Penguins Individual Leaders:
- Mario Lemieux — 690
- Jaromir Jagr (when he was with the Pens)– 439
- Sidney Crosby — 382
- No shot he ever catches up to Mario but he will reach second place relatively soon.
- All-Time Season:
- ’83-’84 Edmonton Oilers — 446 (wow)
- The 1980s Oilers also hold the 2-5 spot for franchise goals with 400+ each season (guess the Gretzky guy was pretty good).
- ’83-’84 Edmonton Oilers — 446 (wow)
- Penguins Season:
- ’92-’93 Pens — 367
- One of the all-time best teams to not win a Stanley Cup. Absolutely unreal offensive performances that boast top five places in multiple other statistical categories for a Penguins season. Just couldn’t pull off the three-peat…can the ’17-’18 Pens do it?
- ’92-’93 Pens — 367
Reading blogs is fun and all, but sports are meant to be watched. This part of the series aims to bring you visual content for you to enjoy. Great goals, interviews, documentaries about the Pens and more. We’ve got you covered.
Pittsburgh is Home: The Story of the Penguins
For this week, I’ve decided to share my all-time favorite documentary on the Pittsburgh Penguins. It covers the beginnings of the franchise in the Steel City and follows it through the good times and bad. This comprehensive history of the Pens features interviews from players from every era of the team and is a must-watch for any true fan.
All parts are available for free from the NHL, here.
eBay Find of the Week
The fandom surrounding sports memorabilia is an interesting one. Combine that with the strange and wonderful world of eBay, and you have yourself an endless source entertainment. Each week, we will be bringing you a unique selection from eBay for you to laugh at, be puzzled by or maybe even purchase.
This week, our featured eBay item is 2016 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS CHAMPIONSHIP Ring Hip Hop Band Style. For just $15.55, you can purchase this totally legit and piece of championship history. Shipping from the hockey capital of the world, Hong Kong, this ring is exactly what you need to prove to whoever you’re trying to impress at the bar that you are definitely an actual Penguins player — you may have to do some explaining as to why it’s plastic. Hurry, there’s only nine left in stock.
Song of the Week
Martin Luther once said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” Kind of heavy-handed but, whatever, it gets the point across. Music is important. Each week, we will share with you one song for your listening pleasure. More often than not, it will relate to hockey somehow. It’s sure to get you in your groove.
I know I’m about two weeks late with this but, to be honest, it’s still sweet. The Penguins are champions for the second year in a row so, naturally, this classic from Queen makes sense. Play it on repeat in the car on the way to work. Belt it at the top of your lungs in the shower. Savor this season while you still can because, if the ’92-’92 season taught us anything, completing a three-peat is tough, even for the best Pens team in history.
Hey, you made it to the end. Thanks for sticking it out and reading all the way through. Full disclosure for y’all, this is my first blog post that I’ve ever done so bear with me. When I was brought on to contribute to Pens Labyrinth, I knew right away that I wanted to make content that was different from your run-of-the-mill news and rumors. This series is for the common fan to read and enjoy at work, in class or wherever you may find yourself on a Wednesday. Like I said at the very beginning of this post, life is hard. But The Wednesday Warrior is here to help.
Being a new blogger, I am looking for any and all criticisms or critiques. Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @mattgeorge01 if there’s something you’d like to see me do better or even if you just want to talk sports.
See you next week and Let’s Go Pens!