I was enjoying my French Hazelnut coffee this morning and was thinking of various things about last night’s win over Montreal. I had originally intended to Rant about the game and the sometimes over the top arrogance of some Montreal fans , when I had a unique idea. I previously ranted about my top 10 Pittsburgh Penguins during my “lifetime” as a fan. What about if I take that premise and go sideways with it. What about a list of the players that only had a cup of coffee with The Penguins, what about a list of players who I would have liked to see stay longer.
During the 1996-1997 season a goaltender emerged in Pittsburgh that caught people’s attention for different reasons. He had a fantastic idea for a mask which was having it painted like an egg that was hatching and two eyes peering out at you, he would go on to set an NHL record with the longest unbeaten streak to begin a career (16 games with a 14–0–2 record) and he brought stability to position that was in flux. The next season Lalime and the team could not agree on a contract and he walked away from The ‘Burgh as quickly as he appeared.
Penguins Stats line: Games Played- 39 Wins- 21 Losses- 12 Ties – 7 Shutouts- 3 goals against avg – 2.95 saves % – .913
I have made it known that I live about 2 hours outside of Sidney Crosby’s home town of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia but there is another former Penguin who lived closer to me. Glen Murray is from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia which is roughly a half hour away from me. Murray had a good carrer that includes 1000 games and multiple seasons with 30 to 40 goals but unfortunately his stay in Pittsburgh was not as productive. He suited for the Penguins for 135 games scoring 25 goals and 26 assists with 81 penalty minutes. Murray was a power forward in the same vein as Cam Neely that could have been a huge star in The Burgh.
Although he was never drafted by an NHL team, Norm MacIver had a good NHL career for someone who was signed out of US University Hockey. He did not come into his own until he played for Ottawa during which in 1992-93 the small defenseman scored 17 goals and had 63 points. His play was similar to Kris Letang’s but without Letang’s physical edge. MacIver played parts of 2 seasons for The Pens which totaled 45 games, 2 goals and 30 assists for 32 points.
Ziggy has always been a point producer no matter where he played. Whether it was for the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings or when he played for The Pens in 2005-06. During his 42 game witht he team, he notched 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points. Palffy retired during the season to what former GM Craig Patrick said was lingering shoulder injury. If he would have played with The Pens during the next few seasons with the young Penguins gearing up for their Stanley Cup win in 2009, there is no telling what numbers Palffy would have put up.
Bryan Fogarty had such a short stay in Pittsburgh that I could not even find a good picture of him in a Pens jersey. Fogarty only played 12 games for the Pens in 1992-93 and and had 0 goals and 4 assists in that time. Fogarty is a tragic story as he is considered one of the most talented defenseman to ever play the game. In his final junoir hockey season and as a defensemen he scored 47 goals and 108 assists for 155 points in only 60 games. Let those numbers sink in a little. Fogarty was a struggling alcoholic and drug user who struggled with sobriety more as the pressure he felt grew. He died from an enlarged heart in 2002.
He is arguably (although I think he is) the greatest left winger to ever play in the NHL and one of the most talented players to play for The Pens for such a short period of time. Luc Robitaille was a dream addition by the team in 1994-95 and was coming off of seasons with 52, 45, 44, 63 and 44 goals for the Los Angeles Kings. He signed for the strike shortened season and ended up scoring 23 goals in 46 games totaling 42 points. Mario sat out the shortened season to rest and if Robitaille would have stuck around for the next season, who knows what numbers he could have put up on Mario’s line.