1983-84 Penguins: Did they deliberately lose games to get Mario?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Jets4Life, Dec 6, 2004.

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  1. Jets4Life

    Jets4Life Registered User

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    I remember reading once that the New Jersey Devils had accused Pittsburgh of throwing their last few games of the 1983-84 season to acquire the 1984 first round draft choice- Mario Lemieux. Both team were in a dead heat to finish last, with pittsburgh finishing with 38 points, and the Devils with 41. Do you think this is possible?
     
  2. EventHorizon

    EventHorizon Bring Back Ties!

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    I honestly don't think so. I think most hockey players have a certain sense of pride and don't want to finish dead last, so I think you'd have a hell of a time getting 20 players to intentionally throw games.
     
  3. Masao

    Masao Registered User

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    But you won't have a hell of a time scratching your best players and throwing in your AHL backup goalie...
     
  4. Chili

    Chili Registered User

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    I followed the Pens that year. They really were that bad. Mike Bullard was about their only good player. Randy Carlyle had been traded off to Winnipeg.

    I don't think they 'threw' games. They didn't go out of their way to upgrade their roster either. I can't remember if things were similiar in Jersey but they ended up with a fine player who would become their captain. They have also won more cups than the Pens so they didn't come away empty handed.
     
  5. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Not sure if they threw games ornot but for sure they didnt go out of their way I dont think. I mean Mario had 282 points in 70 games his last year of Junior Hockey so it'd be hard not to throw games. Aftert Mario NJ selected Krik Muller. A good player for sure but no one that would carry a franchise.

    I believe that the Ottawa Senators threw games to get Alexandre Daigle in '93. Now we look back on that and we ask why? So at least if Pittsburgh threw games they picked the right player.
     
  6. Lard_Lad

    Lard_Lad Registered User

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    Lou Angotti, the Penguins' coach at the time, admitted last year that he and Ed Johnston, the GM, were trying to put a losing team on the ice:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04088/292486.stm

    He also hints in there that it may have gone a little beyond that, talking about losing a game 6-3 after Johnston complained when they were up 3-1 after the first period.
     
  7. Lionel Hutz

    Lionel Hutz Registered User

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    Why does this still come up? :banghead:

    As above, its been hinted they (the management) may have wanted to lose, but they didn't directly "throw games".

    You have ton understand, that team was bad, and was I say bad I mean Ashlee Simpson bad.
     
  8. Malefic74

    Malefic74 Registered User

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    If memory serves this exact controversy led to the adoption of the lottery system the league uses now. Basically nobody could prove anything was done, but they took steps to ensure it could not BE done in the future.
     
  9. Bring Back Bucky

    Bring Back Bucky Registered User

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    Delicieux!

    I think it was after the Alexandre Daigle controversy where Ottawa was accused of tanking to finish behind San Jose that the lottery came to pass. (Certainly memories of Lemieux were prevalent as well)

    Somewhere I have a book that documents the evidence against the Pens, which as posted above, did include dressing a goalie of very, very suspect credentials. If I can find it, I'll post the details here.
     
  10. Chili

    Chili Registered User

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    Vince Tremblay had played quite a few games NHL before that season. Plying him in 4 games was not the reason the Pens finished last.

    Th 92/93 Sens have to be among the worst teams ever iced in NHL History. Compare their roster with the the expansion Washington Caps...It was basically and not a good one.

    As far as the rule change, did you see who was in net for the Caps the last few games this past season? Matthew Yeats who had 9 games of experience...in the AHL.

    I believe Yeats is now back playing for the ECHL Boardwalk Bullies.
     
  11. Guest

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    Great point, and I didn't even realize they were playing Yeats down the stretch. Seems like the bottom 3 teams in the standings should get equal shot at the #1 pick, as I think it's weighted to benefit the worst team the most.

    No doubt in my mind, in hindsight, the Penguins threw the end of the season that year for a last ditch effort to get Mario. Common sense prevails, but then again I am looking at the past having not actually experienced it, I was not a fan at the time.
     
  12. Mothra

    Mothra The Groovy Guru

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    But the Caps didnt finish last......they finished pretty much where they were all season...so I dont see your point....not to mention Yeats played pretty well in his few games (3.04 GAA, 908 Save%)
     
  13. acr*

    acr* Guest

    If we had a season, right now we'd be seeing the Penguins, Caps, and others all throwing games before our very eyes
     
  14. Chili

    Chili Registered User

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    Who would you play Olaf Kolzig or Matthew Yeats. And Stana, Ouellet and possibly Charpentier would have been higher on the depth chart.

    The Caps were miles ahead of the Pens until the last part of the season.
    Does anyone believe that Ovechkin was not one of considerations in gutting their team? I don't but that's just my opinion. :)
     
  15. Lionel Hutz

    Lionel Hutz Registered User

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    Yeats did play well, but I still think it was a personel move that was intended to not go over as well as it did.

    It can be argued that the Pens made a couple of moves with the same intention down the stretch, and they didn't have the desired negative effect either.
     
  16. Mothra

    Mothra The Groovy Guru

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    If Yeats had not played well it is likely he would have gotten 1 start....but who is to say.....GMGM made a few moves that were clearly giving a couple guys an NHL sweater who were never going to get one otherwsie, Mel Angelstad being one. He even mentioned doing it so these guys could say the suited up in the NHL.....laugh if you want but it was a nice move IMO. With Mel he got a couple shifts in a couple games, hardly enough to say he made a difference one way or another.

    GMGM has said he wanted his young guys to play together in the AHL, so Ouellet was there helping in the playoff drive. Answer me this....which is smarter in the big picture. Have your future #1 goalie play in the NHL with a terrible team, with players who for the most part wont be there again...or have him in net for your minor league team that was pushing for a playoff spot, with players he will grow with...?

    Charpentier was injured and i believe his career may be in question

    Kolzig played 63 games

    I'm pretty sure Stana was coming off an injury around that time as well....

    You say...."The Caps were miles ahead of the Pens until the last part of the season"

    But they were dead last in mid/late december and the fact is the finished behind Pit AND Chi....so whats your point? As I said before....they finished right around where they were for the entire season
     
  17. Chili

    Chili Registered User

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    The Pens finished the year 12-5-3-0 (27 points)
    The Caps finished the year 4-13-2-1 (11 points)

    Why would a NHL team bench Olaf Kolzig for several games in favour of Matthew Yeats?
     
  18. Mothra

    Mothra The Groovy Guru

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    Again...Kolzig played 63 games....what do you want? Kolzig also played 6 of the final 10 games.....and I already explained why Max was in Portland.....

    and to address this made up comment of yours....

    "The Caps were miles ahead of the Pens until the last part of the season"

    on Dec 31.....
    Caps 11-23-3-1
    Pens 9-20-5-2
    Chi 9-19-7-4
    Cbus 9-21-4-2

    End of Feb....
    Caps 20-35-8-2
    Pens 13-43-5-3
    Chi 17-33-8-5
    Cbus 19-33-8-3

    Keep in mind that besides trading Jagr/Lang earlier....they didnt move Bondra and Gonchar until Late Feb/Early March......losing those guys is likely going to have an impact on wins and losses....they also traded Grier and Nylander....

    So...again..The Caps finished up pretty much where they were all season...I dont know how you can say they were "miles ahead of the Pens until the last part of the season"....and they did in fact finish behind Pit and Chi.....also...the 4 teams I have shown are all younger teams that have already started the rebuilding. Its fair to reason that they should get better down the stretch...The Caps were gutted down the stretch...and for good reason


    whats your reasoniing for Pit winning only 2 games in a stretch of 25?
     
  19. Lionel Hutz

    Lionel Hutz Registered User

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    They were playing terrible, what's your point? :dunno: They didn't have an ECHL goalie on the ice while a solid goaltending staff sat idly by.
     
  20. Lionel Hutz

    Lionel Hutz Registered User

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    Is this accurate? I don't recall the Pens not being in the cellar at any point in the last season.
     
  21. Strakakis

    Strakakis Registered User

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    Who cares?

    Pens drafted Malkin.
    And hopefully they get awarded the 1st pick 2005 :)
    That will definetely make plans for a new arena :)
     
  22. Benji Frank

    Benji Frank Registered User

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    I doubt a team would intentionally throw a game, but they'd certainly stack their odds in their favour ... which probably wouldn't be too hard considering how they did leading up to the end of the regular season!!!

    I do remember reading an interview with Fergie about the year the Jets got Babych. I think the prize that year was Doug Wickenheiser & to a lessor extent Denis Savard & Dave Babych. Last game of the season Colorado Rockies were playing the Jets and the loser got first over-all (Colorado had traded it to Montreal for a couple of nobodies Andicott & Mon's first rounder or something like that!!).

    Barry Long, the coach of the Jets asked Fergie what he should do. Fergie told him to play to win, but put Mattson (the back-up) in net. Mattson was the first star in a 3-2 or something like that win!!!!

    Oddly enough, Colorado traded what proved to be another first over-all pick (Gord Kluzak) to Boston a couple of years later for the legendary Dwight Foster!!!!

    Man, with shrewd deals like those, it's hard to understand how they ended up in New Jersey!!!! :D :D
     
  23. Mothra

    Mothra The Groovy Guru

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    Jan 7th....

    Caps 42 games, 11-26-4-1 27 pts
    Pens 40 games, 10-23-5-2 27 pts

    Yes...the Caps had more wins but the Pens had 2 games in hand.....either way hardly "miles ahead"
     
  24. Chili

    Chili Registered User

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    Making up 16 points in the last 20 games of the season, especially at the bottom of the standings? That is miles to me.

    The point was, that lottery or not, teams still are encouraged to finish with the worst possible record once they are eliminated from the playoffs. It would be interesting to see, how the upcoming Crosby draft would influence teams roster decisions down the stretch.
     
  25. Pensfan86

    Pensfan86 Registered User

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    they probably did...but wouldnt you as the gm of a team?
     
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