Mario's back!
December 29, 2000 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Mario's back! I'm a couple days late on this, but I just want to say that as a sports fan, I'm glad to see Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemiuex has returned to the ice in style. He's a class act and a great player.
posted by snarkout (14 comments total)
Does anyone know what Mario is paying himself to play for the Penguins?
posted by rcade at 9:39 AM on December 29, 2000

The most current listing of salaries for the NHL doesn't list Mario. 1999-2000 but I'm sure the 2000-2001 would be more up to date. I do know the NFL, NHL and MLB have limits on the owners being players. Imagine Dan Snyder playing for the Redskins, Paul Allen for the Trailblazers, or Jerry Jones on the Cowboys?
posted by brent at 10:29 AM on December 29, 2000

The NHL PLayers's Association lists his compensation as "To Be Determined." In all of the coverage of his comeback, I think I saw that he was planning on paying himself the average contract of a player in the NHL.

He looked great in his first game back. I'm looking into getting tickets for when the Pens play in D.C.
posted by rorschach at 10:30 AM on December 29, 2000

Woops, I mean Players' Association. Me write good, teacher said so.
posted by rorschach at 10:31 AM on December 29, 2000

Correction NBA not NHL.
posted by brent at 10:32 AM on December 29, 2000

I just saw the highlights to that first game with Mario back. I gotta say "WOW!". Its great to have him back, he looked great, as usual, and brings out the best in the other players too. I hope jager sticks around vs following through w/ his trade request (maybe i missed new news about this.
posted by jamescblack at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2000

Mario Lemieux's impressive 1 goal and 2 assists on his first game back was eclipsed by Peter Bonda (of the Washington Capitals) who scored an incredible 4 goals in 4 shots the same night. Due to human interest, I'm sure Lemieux will get the NHL Player of the Week award.
posted by Trampas at 12:05 PM on December 29, 2000

err... Peter Bondra
posted by Trampas at 12:07 PM on December 29, 2000

My take on Mario was always that he would have been just as happy to do something else, except that he happened to be really, insanely, legendarily good at hockey, and people were willing to pay him tens of millions of dollars and set him up as an object of worship to keep him playing.

Not that he doesn't actually like the game -- I'm sure he does, and he's clearly a class act and a thoughtful guy and all that, but I always figured that hockey was something he just kinda... fell into.

But aside from the fact that he beat up on my beloved Leafs, I'm glad he's back too.
posted by chicobangs at 12:57 PM on December 29, 2000

Yep, I saw Bondra's 4 goals live from the third row of the Corel Centre on Wednesday. There's a price on his head here in Ottawa, that's for sure. Good thing I snuck into the expensive seats!
posted by Succa at 7:53 PM on December 29, 2000

Many players these days don't love the game they play anyway. They claim to have been fans since they were in diapers, but in all honesty, I think their parents or even friends pushed them into it.

As for Mario's performance, it was wonderful as usual. He seemed a bit slow, just as he predicted, but what can you expect from such a long layoff. He's never been the speedy type, just powerful and skillful.
posted by moural at 9:35 PM on December 29, 2000

As someone who has had the opportunity to sit down and talk hockey with Mario, I don't doubt for a second that he is 100% dedicated to the game. Remember, this is someone who had 6,000 people watching him play in the PeeWee league, and who left home, school and family at age 14 to chase the dream of the sport.

He came to Pittsburgh and formed a bond with the community, building his home and keeping his family here even after his retirement, when he could've easily gone back to Quebec or anywhere else he pleased. He chose to fight to save the Penguins and keep them in Pittsburgh (when Paul Allen wanted to buy and move the team elsewhere) and lowered ticket prices to get more fans in the doors.

He's being paid league minimum for this season, even though the team still legally owes him millions on his last contract; money he will never actually see. He is humble, grateful, defers to the judgment of business advisors who certainly know more than he (he doesn't even have a high school diploma, after all) and just wants to have a good game for the dedicated fans who saw him through years of consistently excellent play, a devastating back injury and cancer.

As for Bondra, his 4 goal performance was outstanding, but he didn't do it in his first game back on the ice after three years. A player of the week nod to Mario seems quite fitting to me.

Have I mentioned that I'm not a real big hockey fan?
posted by Dreama at 9:58 AM on December 30, 2000

when i began to read this topic i thought nintendo was putting out a new mario game. opps.
posted by thirdball at 12:24 PM on December 30, 2000

Are you sure he's getting paid eague minimum? I heard that he agreed w/ the NHLPA to tak ethe average salary (so as not to skew the base salary).
posted by tj at 11:20 AM on January 2, 2001

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