The Pittsburgh Penguins is an American ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team is recognized for achieving victories in the Stanley Cup five times. The Penguins was founded in 1967 as the National Hockey League began their expansion efforts. The Penguins bear their name to honor the igloo shape of the Mellon Arena, the main base of the team until 2010. The Penguins were a moderately successful franchise for most of the ‘70s. They went through a hard period in the early ‘80s until they manage to draft Mario Lemieux in 1984. The man played the offensive like no one else at the time and went on to become one of the greatest players in the history of the team.
The Magical Touch of Mario Lemieux
After the wonder draft, the Penguins had it easy to keep powerful talent coming into their lineup. This led to them becoming a regular fixture in the hockey playoffs in the late ‘80s. After recruiting right wing Jaromir Jagr, the team scored the Stanley Cup in the 90-91 and 91-92 seasons. In 1993 they faced a huge setback when the team captain Mario Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin disease. The player didn’t give up and overcame the illness to return to the team after a year. He also managed to score a big win by earning a personal score in goals through the 95-96. He retired a year later to leave the leading spot to Jaromir Jagr who performed just as good by leading the team through four championship victories from 1997 to 2001.
Overcoming Financial Struggles
Although the team was very successful, it was poorly managed by their owners, and they constantly struggled financially. The brand filed for bankruptcy in 1998. In a show of complete devotion and loyalty, Jaromir Lemieux accepted a deal to have years of unpaid salary into equity to have partial ownership of the team. In 2000 he went back to action in the arena to become the first player-owner in the NHL. He was with the team in the field well into the 2005-06 season. By 2005 the Penguins drafted Sidney Crosby, the leading scorer during the 2006-07 season. He was aged 19 at the time, so he was the youngest team captain in NHL history. In the 2007–08 Crosby and Evgeni Malkin led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals yet again but lost to the Detroit Red Wings.
A Winning Streak that Doesn’t Stop
The following season (2008-09) Evgeni Malkin led the NHL statics in points while his partner Crosby was third. In that time the Penguins finished fourth in the Atlantic Division and managed to advance to the Stanley Cup finals once more. The team was ready to hold their own, this time against the Red Wings. They defeated their rivals after seven games. Following the 2009 championship win, The Penguins remained as one of the best teams in the NHL, with unchallenged records of three straight seasons scoring at least 100 points between 2009-10 and 2011-12 and winning three division titles as well.
Dealing with Recent Times
The only setback during this period is the inability of the Penguins to advance past the conference finals. They even lost low-seeded teams in five of the six seasons. The team managed to score big time again in 2015-16 by ending the season on a winning streak that would take them well into the postseason. The Penguins managed to capture another Stanley Cup title by defeating the San Jose Sharks in six games. The Penguins also managed to score big numbers by breaking their own record and securing 111 points during the 2016-17 season. They also won a postseason seven-game series in the Eastern Conference finals and returned to the Stanley Cup finals once more. This time they faced the Nashville Predators and defeated them in six games, to become the first team to win many consecutive Stanley Cups championships since the 1997-98 season.