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The Pittsburgh Penguins franchise was founded in 1967 as an expansion team during the NHLs original expansion from six to twelve teams.
The Penguins nickname was inspired by the fact that their home arena was originally to be the Pittsburgh Civic Arena aka - the Igloo. Their logo which is a penguin in front of a triangle, symbolizes the Golden Triangle of downtown Pittsburgh.
On October 21, 1967 the Pittsburg Penguins became the first expansion team to beat an original six team as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.
The first jersey to be retired by the franchise was number 21, in honour of promising rookie center Michel Briere who was injured in a car crash in 1970. After a year in the hospital Briere died as a result of the crash.
1973: The year that the last NHL netminder (Andy Brown- Pittsburg Penguins) appeared in a game without a mask.
In 1975, the Penguins organization was nearly forced into bankruptcy by creditors but were eventually rescued by a group of investors that included Wren Blair (who was also responsible for notifying the Boston Bruins about Bobby Orr and helping him train for the NHL).
In 1980, the Penguins changed team colors from blue & white to their present-day black & gold in the tradition of Pittsburghs other sports teams, the Pirates and the Steelers. The Boston Bruins tried to block the change claiming a monopoly on black and gold, but the league backed the Penguins and the new uniform was allowed.
Lemieux entered the league guns a blazing, scoring on the first shot of his first shift in his NHL debut.
Even with the uber-talented Mario Lemieux, the eighties were a tough decade for the Pens but they gradually improved and by 1990-91 the team was on top of the standings. After having drafted Czech right-winger Jaromir Jagr in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, and assembled an all-star cast including Paul Coffey, Joey Mullen, Larry Murphy, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, Ulf Samuelsson, Bryan Trottier and netminder Tom Barrasso they went on to take home their franchises first stanley cup defeating the Minnesota North Stars in six games.
In 1992, Scotty Bowman took over behind the bench in Pittsburg after the team lost their coach Bob Johnson to cancer. Under Bowman, the Pens swept the Chicago Blackhawks to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.
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