Digging Into The Archives: My Real Disgust For Mario Lemieux Begins

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

I have a lot of hockey on VHS. A whole box of it, full of Stanley Cup Finals games, highlights from the regular season and playoffs and more. I just bought a Roxio program called Convert VHS To DVD. I want all of that videotape content onto disks and a hard drive to conserve space, because VCR's are going the way of the dinosaur, but most importantly I want to share some hockey footage with hockey fans via YouTube! (Yes, I know the copyright laws, etc). We have a lot of time to kill now and so I am preparing for the worst (CBA).

The first VHS tape that I wanted to dive into was the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks.

(In the 1992 playoffs, the Canucks had defeated the Winnipeg Jets in seven games in Round 1, but then lost to the Edmonton Oilers in six in round 2, for your information.)

Many hockey fans I talk to say the best Stanley Cup Finals series they ever saw was the Canucks-Rangers in 1994. I agree. But the best Finals game I have ever seen? The Penguins - Hawks Game 4 in 1992. I will get more into that game somewhere down the road in the coming weeks. But I just want to focus on the closing moments of Game 1 of that series, because it was a monumental moment for me.

Mario Lemieux was

an astounding player, I have no problem saying that. If you were born "yesterday", like many people around here are you missed out. I think I respected his abilities as a kid - teenager, but I didn't get to see much of him playing, as I only had two channels back in the day: CBC and BCTV. So, the most I had seen of Mario was in the 1991 playoffs, where the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup. Mario scored this sick goal in the Finals:

Wow. (That clip was not uploaded by me.)

The Penguins were a dominant team in 1991 and 1992. In 1992, Chicago had a very gritty team coached by Iron Mike Keenan, and I can remember that most, including myself, thinking that Chicago had a chance against Mario, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Tom Barrasso and co. Hell, they had swept Detroit and Edmonton in their two previous rounds. They were on a serious roll.

And so...late in Game 1, with under a minute left, the score was tied 4-4, watch the events that transpire:

(That clip was uploaded by me).

Are you kidding me? I wanted to post that because all I had seen on YouTube was the goal by itself. The colossal dive by Lemieux was disgusting and paved the way for the winning goal...BY HIM. I hate it still. It still makes my blood boil. See the look on Steve Smith's face after the dive? He's got that 'what the f***' look going on and I don't blame him. Any Hawks fans out there wanna chime in? Share some memories of it?

I don't recall hating Mario before that. Maybe I did, I don't know. But that moment in Game 1 sealed it. With all the amazing skill he had it's honestly too bad that he resorted to those tactics. And believe me, he got a lot worse as the years went on.

Filthy Penguins. Diving Mario. I hate them all! Always have always will. Except you, Rick Tocchet. At least you didn't play like a dirty diving wiener.

Can you imagine if that dive happened today? With all the media out there? Mario would have been crucified. In 1992, he won the Conn Smyth trophy was the MVP of the playoffs. Congrats you cheap-o.

/rant over.

I am going to post more vids from that series in the next while. It was full of gold. Until then, keep your stick on the ice and don't dive. Play like you have a sack for god's sakes.

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