Mario Lemieux (born October 5, 1965) is one of the greatest players of all time. “Super Mario” or “The Magnificient One”, as his nicknames goes, played his whole career with Pittsburgh Penguins and he won two Stanley Cups.
After junior years, Lemieux started his career with Laval Voisins of the QMJHL. Lemieux broke the league record for points in a season 1983-84 with 282 points (133+149) in 70 games. Mario Lemieux finished his QMJHL career with 562 points (247+315) in three seasons. Heading the 1984 NHL draft Pittsburgh Penguins made many questionable moves and weaken their team and that’s because Mario Lemieux – Penguins earned to right to draft Lemieux first overall and that was key point to turn poor franchise into winning one.
Mario Lemieux started his Penguins career with style – he scored on his first ever shot of his first ever NHL shift, in his first NHL game. He missed seven games during the first season, but scored 100 points and won Calder Trophy as the rookie of year. Even Lemieux was very good, poor Penguins won’t reached NHL playoffs in his first four seasons. In 1988-89 season the Penguins made the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Mario Lemieux led the league with 199 points (85+114), but still Penguins lost in Divisional Finals to Philadelphia Flyers. Mario Lemieux career was plagued by health problems and next season he missed 21 games and the Penguins won’t reached the Playoffs.
Lemieux missed 50 games in the 1990-91 season, but he came back to playoffs and led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Champions – he won Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs most valuable player. Next season was also injury-plagued and Lemieux played on 64 games – but still Pittsburgh Penguins won second consecutive Stanley Cup and Lemieux was again most valuable player in the playoffs. Lemieux made unbelievable combined 78 points during 1991 and 1992 playoffs. Mario Lemieux made shocking announcement January 12, 1993 that he had been diagnosed cancer (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) – after two months aggressive radiation treatments Lemieux returned to play. Next seasons were again injure-plagued, mostly back problems. April 6, 1997 Lemieux announced that he planned to retire following the playoffs.
Late in 2000, Mario Lemieux announced attempt to a comeback and on December 27, 2000, he returned to the NHL. Lemieux continued to play until season 2005-06 and his scoring touch is still there – unfortunately many of these seasons were again injury-plagued and January 24, 2006, Lemieux announced his permanent retirement.
Other interesting stuff
Mario Lemieux won Calder Trophy as a Rookie of the Year 1985 – 3 Hart Memorial Trophies (1988, 1993, 1996) for a NHL’s most valuable player, 2 Conn Smythe Trophies (1991, 1992) for the most valuable player in the playoffs and 6 Art Ross Trophies (1988. 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997) for most points in regular season. Mario Lemieux has been chosen to the NHL First All-Star Team 5 times (1988, 1990, 1993, 1996 and 1997). Mario Lemieux owns plenty of NHL records – for example: Most shorthanded goals in a season (13) and most power play points in a season (80). Mario Lemieux is a current part-owner of Pittsburgh Penguins and he has won three Stanley Cups as an owner (2009, 2016, 2017).