March 8th, 2012. Welcome to a brief round up a the latest and greatest from the world of sports.
Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Penguins erected at statue of former player, captain and all-star Mario Lemieux. We’ll take a look at the top and bottom of the NBA, and the engines driving those teams. Can you imagine Peyton Manning in anything but a Colts jersey?
The Pittsburgh franchise declared bankruptcy after the 1974-75 season and by 1983, they were averaging just over 7,000 fans per game. October 11, 1984, Lemieux’s NHL debut began with him stealing the puck from Boston’s Ray Bourque and scoring on his first shot in the NHL. That season he was the first rookie to be named MVP at the NHL All-Star game and won the Calder trophy with 100 points in 73 games.
1987-88, Mario eventually beat out Gretzky for the Art Ross and Hart Memorial with a 168 point season.
In the 1988-89 season, Lemieux finished with 199 points, closest to Gretzky’s 200+ points. On December 31st, 1988, the captain scored 8 points against the NJ Devil with 5 goals and 3 assists. Most notably, Lemieux is the only player to score all five possible ways in one game, even-strength, shorthanded, power-play, penalty shot and an empty net goal.
In the 1990-91 season, despite a serious back injury, Lemieux led the Pittsburgh Penguins to their first Stanley Cup with a 44 point playoff performance (2nd to Gretzky’s 47 pts.). Even with an injury plagued 1991-92 season, the Penguins rolled through the playoffs for their second cup with Mario winning his second Conn Smythe Trophy. During the 1992-93 season, Mario made a shocking announcement that he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Even with the energy draining treatment, he managed to play 60 games and put up an astounding 160 points. After more surgery and treatment, Lemieux took a break from the NHL due to fatigue. After a return in the 1995-96 season, Mario Lemieux retired the following season and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame November 17th, 1997.
Amongst all the rumours, December 27, 2000, Mario Lemieux returned to the NHL scoring 3 points in his first game back against the Maple Leafs. Despite only playing 43 games, he finished the season with 76 points with the highest points-per-game in the league. At age 37, Mario finished the 2002-03 season eighth in scoring with 91 points in just 67 games.
January 24, 2006, Mario Lemieux announced his second and permanent retirement from the NHL. In 915 career regular season games, he scored 1723 points (609 goals & 1033 assists).
Now an owner of the Penguins, Mario received his third Stanley Cup in 2009.
So here we are, March 7, 2012 with a player humbling accepting a statue as a token of a town’s gratitude. A man who revived the sport of hockey in Pittsburgh.
The statue is Mario breaking through two defencemen Jeff Norton and Rich Pilon, formerly of the New York Islanders. Penguins CEO David Morehouse explained the reason for picking this moment.
“On the ice, Mario powered his way past defensemen to score incredible goals. Off the ice he overcame and broke through so many challenges.”
Peyton Manning Let Go
Top Of The NBA
Derrick Rose dropped 30 points Wednesday night against the Bucks including a game-winning fade-away sparking this reaction above. The Chicago Bulls are on a 8-game winning streak placing them at the top of the league with an impressive 33-8 record.
Right on the heels of Chi-Town are the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 31-8 record playing two less games. Kevin Durant is averaging 28.1 points per game and Russell Westbrook 23.8. Even with the second lowest team assists per game, the duo are tearing up the league.
The Miami Heat sitting third in the league with 30 wins and just 9 losses. LeBron James leading the way with 27.1 PPG, 8.40 rebounds per game and a team-high 6.7 assists per game. D Wade contributing just over 20 points per game and Bosh just under. “The Big Three” are showing the league what all the fuss was about.
At the bottom of the pile, the Charlotte Bobcats with a horrible 5-32 record. 32 year old Corey Maggette is one of the bright spots with 15.8 PPG and 4.8 boards. Hopefully Michael Jordan (owner since 2010) can help turn the franchise around.