Five Things To Be Grateful For As A Penguins Fan

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 14: Sidney Crosby
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 14: Sidney Crosby /

With Thanksgiving Day here, it is that time of year to spend time with family and friends and be thankful for everything you have. It is also important to be thankful as Pittsburgh Penguins fans, as there is a lot to be thankful for.

5. The Phil Kessel Trade

On July 1, 2015, the Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs made a deal sending forwards Phil Kessel and Tyler Biggs, defenseman Tim Erixon and a 2016 second-round pick to Pittsburgh. Going to Toronto was Nick Spaling, forward Kasperi Kapanen, defenceman Scott Harrington, plus first- and third-round picks from 2016.

The Penguins have been in the playoffs every season since their 2009 Stanley Cup run; however, they have not been to the Cup Final since then. General Manager Jim Rutherford knew he needed to make some moves as he brought in head coach Mike Sullivan and acquired Kessel.

In Kessel and Sullivan’s first two years in Pittsburgh, they won back-to-back Stanley Cups, bringing the franchise’s fourth and fifth Stanley Cup trophies. Kessel instantly became a key contributor on the second and third lines and was also a fan favorite.

4. Mario Lemieux Buying And Saving The Team

In the late 1990s, despite the team being very successful with playoff appearances that whole decade, the Penguins were in a rough stretch financially. Owners Howard Baldwin and Roger Marino placed the team in bankruptcy. The team was in danger of being relocated.

However, Mario Lemieux came to the rescue, purchasing the team and keeping Penguins hockey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is also the first former professional athlete to exchange a portion of their salary for ownership of a team. Lemiuex and his team were able to pay off most of the $114 million dollars of the Penguins’ debt and raise $50 million dollars from outside investors.

3. Mario Lemieux As A Player

Lemieux is easily the best Penguins player of all-time. The Penguins superstar was one of the most well-known and liked players in his era, as he was one of the best to ever play the game. He is eighth all-time in points with 1,723 and would be even better if he did not have to stop playing due to being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. If Lemieux never had to miss over a season and a half, he would have passed Steve Yzerman, Marcel Dionne, Ron Francis, and maybe even Gordie Howe for all-time points.

2. The Elite Trio Playing For So Long

The elite trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang is something all Penguins fans should be extremely thankful for to watch three elite players play together for one franchise for 18 years and counting. Crosby is one of the best playmakers in not only the league but all-time, Malkin is one of the funniest and toughest players on the Penguins who can score from just about anywhere on the ice, and last but not least, Letang, even though he is an offensive defenseman, is also solid defensively.

These three Penguins players are some of the best to ever wear the black and gold, as they each have three Stanley Cups and still play at a great level. Crosby at 1,524 points, Malkin at 1,247 points, and Letang at 701 points is a serious trio that should not be taken lightly.

1. Five Stanley Cups

However, what Penguins fans should be the most thankful for is their five Stanley Cups. Despite only being a franchise for 56 years, the Penguins are tied for fifth with the Edmonton Oilers for most Stanley Cups. The Penguins even have more Stanley Cups than the New York Rangers, who were a member of the Original Six teams.

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