Randy Carlyle never played in the NHL with Mario Lemieux.
But Carlyle did captain that 1983-84 Penguins team — until he was traded to Winnipeg near that season’s deadline — that finished last overall. In fact, many believe the Penguins traded Carlyle as part of an attempt to drop to last overall, and tank the season.
Why? Because the consensus No. 1 pick was Mario Lemieux.
The Penguins chose Lemieux. And after an initial reluctance to don the jersey, Lemieux went on to save the franchise, not just once, but twice.
Thirty thoughts from around the NHL.
1. Think the NHL quietly tried to find other owners for a potential Quebec City franchise. (Smart business, create a bidding war. A similar move took the Canadiens' sale price up to $600 million.) The Desmarais and Tanguay families share ownership of the QMJHL Remparts, and there've been lots of rumours they were approached. Andre Desmarais, president and co-CEO of Power Corp, said his family "has no interest in owning an NHL team at this stage." (That was in a phone interview.) Through a spokeswoman, the Tanguay family denied there ever was a meeting.
2. Canadiens owner Geoff Molson is on record as supporting the Nordiques' return (should this happen), but the timing is tough for Montreal. One of the reasons I hate my parents is that they met too late for me to cover a Montreal/Quebec playoff series, but the stories from reporters who did are fantastic. The Nordiques worked hard to identify themselves as the Francophones against the Anglophone Canadiens. After all of the Randy Cunneyworth craziness, you can see how we're going to go down this road again. (And, to my dad, who reads this blog, I'm just kidding.)