The Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled a 4,700-pound bronze statue honoring Mario Lemieux on Wednesday. The statue, which stands outside Consol Energy Center, depicts Lemieux splitting a pair of defensemen on his way to scoring a goal against the New York Islanders in 1988. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
GALLERY: Sports Figures With Their Own StatuesSI VAULT: Lemieux on his battle cancer (1.22.96)

The Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled a 4,700-pound bronze statue honoring Mario Lemieux on Wednesday. The statue, which stands outside Consol Energy Center, depicts Lemieux splitting a pair of defensemen on his way to scoring a goal against the New York Islanders in 1988. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

GALLERY: Sports Figures With Their Own Statues
SI VAULT: Lemieux on his battle cancer (1.22.96)

On this day in 1984, Mario Lemieux played his first NHL game. In his very first shift, the 19-year-old stole the puck from Boston’s Ray Bourque and scored a goal. It was a sign of things to come as the Penguins savior would score 690 career goals, earn a spot on 10 all-star teams and lead Pittsburgh to two Stanley Cups. By his side for both Stanley Cups was longtime teammate Jaromir Jagr, who let his mullet fly during this 1992 photo shoot. (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
SI VAULT: Pitiful Penguins will be better with Lemieux (10.15.84)GALLERY: Penguins Through The Years | Great NHL Hairstyles

On this day in 1984, Mario Lemieux played his first NHL game. In his very first shift, the 19-year-old stole the puck from Boston’s Ray Bourque and scored a goal. It was a sign of things to come as the Penguins savior would score 690 career goals, earn a spot on 10 all-star teams and lead Pittsburgh to two Stanley Cups. By his side for both Stanley Cups was longtime teammate Jaromir Jagr, who let his mullet fly during this 1992 photo shoot. (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

SI VAULT: Pitiful Penguins will be better with Lemieux (10.15.84)
GALLERY: Penguins Through The Years | Great NHL Hairstyles


Today is Mario Lemieux’s 46th birthday. The above photo, taken by SI photographer Lane Stewart, was a part of E.M. Swift’s 1984 profile of the Penguins 19-year-old rookie. The story’s opening paragraph sets the mood in hockey-crazy Pittsburgh:
"Let posterity note that the light at the end of the tunnel that is Pittsburgh  Penguin hockey was first glimpsed at 2:29 p.m. (E.D.T.) on Sept. 20, 1984, which was when Mario Lemieux scored his first goal in a Penguin intrasquad scrimmage. True, Lemieux’s goal came against the NHL’s most inept defense—the Pens allowed a league-high 390 goals last season while sagging to the worst record, 16-58-6, in the NHL—but from the reaction of the 400 Pittsburgh  diehards who came to see the NHL’s top draft choice, the most highly touted rookie since Guy Lafleur, you would have thought Lemieux  had just scored the game-winning goal in a Stanley Cup final."
SI VAULT: Penguins land a rare bird (10.15.84)SI HOCKEY PREVIEW: Pacific | Southeast | Atlantic | Central

Today is Mario Lemieux’s 46th birthday. The above photo, taken by SI photographer Lane Stewart, was a part of E.M. Swift’s 1984 profile of the Penguins 19-year-old rookie. The story’s opening paragraph sets the mood in hockey-crazy Pittsburgh:

"Let posterity note that the light at the end of the tunnel that is Pittsburgh  Penguin hockey was first glimpsed at 2:29 p.m. (E.D.T.) on Sept. 20, 1984, which was when Mario Lemieux scored his first goal in a Penguin intrasquad scrimmage. True, Lemieux’s goal came against the NHL’s most inept defense—the Pens allowed a league-high 390 goals last season while sagging to the worst record, 16-58-6, in the NHL—but from the reaction of the 400 Pittsburgh  diehards who came to see the NHL’s top draft choice, the most highly touted rookie since Guy Lafleur, you would have thought Lemieux  had just scored the game-winning goal in a Stanley Cup final."

SI VAULT: Penguins land a rare bird (10.15.84)
SI HOCKEY PREVIEW: Pacific | Southeast | Atlantic | Central