Don't see this post as a rip on Billy Guerin or Gary Roberts. Quite the opposite. I loved Roberts since his days on the Toronto Maple Leafs and enjoyed Guerin's time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. I just find the following these two men gained in Pittsburgh amazing, especially considering how short their tenures were.
|The fact he'd kill you if you didn't like him |
might have boosted Roberts' popularity
Guerin helped the team win a Stanley Cup and scored 26 goals and 57 goals in 95 regular season games with the Pens. He added 11 goals and 24 points in 35 playoff games. Solid numbers, but not mind blowing.
Roberts only played 57 regular season games with the Pens and had 10 goals and 28 points. He put up four goals and eight points in 16 playoff games. As with Guerin's, Robert's stats were certainly not why fans fell in love with Roberts.
So what was it that made these men so beloved so quickly? Was it Roberts beating the crap out of Carolina Hurricanes player in his first game as a member of the Pens? Did Guerin gain the city's support by burying a game-winner against the hated Philadelphia Flyers in a playoff game?
Neither. Sure, those moments helped solidify their places in Pittsburgh lore, but it takes more than one play to do so. What these men did was come in and just played in-your-face hockey. Nothing they did was pretty or easy, but they worked their asses off every day despite their ages. They provided the veteran leadership that the young Pens needed.
|Win the Cup, and you win the fans.|
With all this in mind, I still can't believe how much love Pens fans showered on these two. If you watched the ceremony before the last game at Mellon Arena, only one man got a bigger ovation than Roberts. That guy just happened to be Mario Lemieux.
Not to be outdone, Guerin retired as a Pen tonight and received a similar response from the crowd.
I might not get it, but I'm all for it.
Warren Zevon - Frank and Jesse James