All eyes are on the Penguins as a new hockey season is officially about to start in Pittsburgh this week against the Anaheim Ducks.
As has been the case in the past, the hopes for this season is that this year’s Penguins will bring Pittsburgh lots of good memories, less injuries and more victories. The Stanley Cup wouldn’t be bad either.
Perhaps bringing back the black-and-gold outfits of the 90s as their third jerseys will serve as a lucky charm. Marc-Andre Fleury’s outfit is the coolest, no doubt. He will be sporting the giant yellow pads, gloves and a yellow mask, which — if you remember the Penguins of the 90s — looks like the mask that the legendary Tom Barrasso used to wear during Penguins’ glory days when the team won consecutive Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
Which brings us to Tom Barrasso… In our archive, folders with Barrasso’s images do not bleed black and gold, they are mostly black and white. But they do tell a story of a golden boy, the story of his play that established him as a “money goalie.”
Barrasso’s journey to professional hockey started early. He went straight from high school to the NHL becoming the first and the only goaltender to ever play in the NHL without having played major junior or college hockey.
His coaches agreed: “He has hockey sense, he stops the puck well and he knows what he’s doing.” He stopped a lot of pucks. In 1997, he set a record as the first U.S. goaltender with 300 NHL wins.
In 2000, he was traded to the Ottawa Senators, then joined the Carolina Hurricanes. After that he played with the Maple Leafs and the St. Louis Blues. Barrasso played 19 NHL seasons with 6 teams, 12 of those seasons he played in as a Penguin. In 2003, to retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin, Tom Barrasso signed a pro forma contract with them and then announced his retirement.
In spite of his great play or maybe because of it, Barrasso’s relationships with many teammates and the Pittsburgh media was, as the PG’s Dave Molinari once put it, “frosty, at best.” That was unfortunate, Molinari wrote, “because he was capable of offering great insight on things that happened on the ice.”
He was inducted in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.