The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the NHL for the 1967-68 season, along with five other expansion teams. The Penguins were mediocre at best until the 1980’s when Mario Lemieux came along. When Super Mario was coupled with Jaromir Jagr, the Penguins captured two consecutive Stanley Cup championships in Jagr’s first two years in the National Hockey League.
Test and expand your knowledge of Pittsburgh’s team captains through franchise history with the following hockey trivia questions.
Q. Who was the first ever team captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins?
A. Ab McDonald played just one season with Pittsburgh, 1967-68, and was team captain. In that one season, the first for the Penguins, McDonald led the team with 22 goals. McDonald played a lengthy NHL career that lasted from 1958-59 to 1971-72. He played with Montreal, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. McDonald was part of three Stanley Cup winning teams in Montreal and won a fourth with the Blackhawks. Ab went on to play two seasons in the WHA with the Winnipeg Jets, 1972-73 and 1973-74.
Q. After a period with no team captain, in 1973 who became captain of the Penguins?
A. Ron Schock served as team captain in Pittsburgh from 1973 to 1977. Ron played over 900 regular season games in the NHL from 1963 to 1978 with Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Following his final year in Pittsburgh, 1976-77, Schock played just 40 more games in the National Hockey League, all with the Buffalo Sabres during the 1977-78 season. He played two more years of pro hockey in the AHL with the Hershey Bears and Rochester Americans.
Q. What defenseman was Pittsburgh’s team captain from 1981 to 1984?
A. Randy Carlyle played in the NHL from 1976-77 to 1992-93 with Toronto, Pittsburgh and Winnipeg. Randy won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman with Pittsburgh in 1981. Carlyle is the current coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
Q. What one-time fifty goal scorer was captain of the Penguins from 1984 to 1986?
A. Mike Bullard scored 51 goals for Pittsburgh during the 1983-84 season. Bullard played in the NHL from 1980-81 to 1991-92 with Pittsburgh, Calgary, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Toronto. He was the ninth overall pick at the 1980 NHL Entry Draft by the Penguins.
Bullard played with the Penguins until a trade in 1986-87 sent him to the Calgary Flames for Dan Quinn. The following year, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the deal that brought Doug Gilmour to the Flames. After the NHL, Mike had a lengthy career in Germany and retired from playing after the 2002-03 season.