We loved, loved, loved this piece on the official Penguins page about the perfect Penguin. The best attributes pulled out of each player. They only worked with current Penguins, so we'll go a step further and look back for all time. As a disclaimer, we'll only pick one player per category (as to not choose Mario Lemieux too many times). Feel free in the comments to make your own team!
Physicality: Brooks Orpik. He played 795 games (playoffs+regular season) as a Penguin, the most ever by a defenseman in team history. No one blocked more shots and made more hits in a Pens jersey than old Free Candy. All that needs to be said: he had "The Shift", and the Igloo never rocked as hard in its storied existence (RIP)
Vision/IQ: Mario Lemieux. No doubt about it, #66 was the best of all time. Everyone else was playing checkers, he was playing chess.Watching Mario was watching brilliance.
A lot of the above are goals, true, but #10 and #8 show his vision for passes. And playing the puck through no less than Ray Bourque's skates for a goal at #3 is against arguably the best defenseman of all time. Yuuuup.
Mouth: Kevin Stevens and Brian Trottier (tie)
Warning - very NSFW language:
Brian Bellows was a very good player. But he shrunk away in the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals and you can understand why with verbal abuse like Artie and Trots laid on him. A lot of that isn't PC and probably not cool for the world today in 2015, but hockey is hockey.
Strength: Rick Tocchet. If you know anyone tougher than Tocchet...You're lying. As a Penguin in 1992 Tocchet once broke his jaw in a game, came back and scored two goals. He also punched a ton of people in the face. NHL GM's would sell their first born child to get a Tocchet or Stevens type power forward, but they just don't make 'em like they used to in that regard who can score 40+ goals in a season and run over anyone that gets in their way in doing so.
Heart: Sidney Crosby. Overcame concussion symptoms worse than we know. Deals with more slashes/hooks/cross-checks, you name it than anyone. Never lost his burst or joy for the game and has captained the Pens for the better part of a decade to be one of the best teams in the league. Also has 2 Hart's, but that's a different matter.
Hands: Alexei Kovalev. A magician with the puck and he had his career year with the Pens in 2000-01 on the famed Martin Straka - Robert Lang - Kovalev second line that will forever set the standard for skill and grace about what a 2nd line should be. That trio combined for an absolutely ridiculous 270 points that season and left a mark that won't be soon matched, And they were led by the silky smooth hands of AK27.
Guts: Jaromir Jagr. Yes, seriously.
We'll let Jags tell the story, via Rich Chere of NJ.com
Jagr told me today that the goal, scored on May 2, 1999, in Pittsburgh, was the biggest he's scored in his entire career. It tied the series and may have saved the franchise.
"I remember that like it happened yesterday," Jagr told me. "I pulled my groin in the first game. We were losing, 3-2, in the series and if we would lose in the first round I think the team would move to Kansas City because they had no money. We had to make the second round to get the (money for) the payments.
"I came back and I tied it with a minute and a half to go and then I scored in overtime. That was probably my best game ever, I would say. My most important for sure. I'll probably never score a goal that important.
(Skip to 3:50 for when Jagr takes over)
If Jagr doesn't tie the game and then win it, the team seriously might not have survived. Lemieux is certainly the team's savior, and Crosby breathed new life into the franchise, but there wouldn't have been a franchise in the first place if Jagr didn't reach deep and gut out a tremendous performance in the 1st round of the 1999 playoffs against the Devils. And Jagr had to do it against Scott Stevens and Martin Brodeur . And he did. Mario's battle cancer was more serious (and is more known) but for Jagr to play with a pulled groin, against the New Jersey Devils in their very prime and will your team to victory? That can't be celebrated enough.
Legs: Martin Straka. When I first thought of legs, I thought maybe Pascal Dupuis. Maybe Kris Letang. Maybe Jordan Staal. Maybe Rob Brown (kidding!) But then I thought of this splash play by Straka to pounce when Sergei Gonchar bumbled the puck, and just explode past him. This is in OT in a playoff game to win a series. Big time players make big time plays in big time games.
Straka played 560 games as a Penguin, listed very generously at 5'9 and was built like a fire hydrant. He was all power and was one of the fastest and most dynamic skaters in the world when he was at his prime. He was here in 2001.
But really, just click play and watch his first 2 or 3 strides.
Shot: Evgeni Malkin . Other than #66, there's no better Penguin you could want with the puck on his stick when he's looking to shoot it. Malkin is legendary for his dekes, his slapshot breakaway in the 2008 series vs the Flyers, but there's one shot that stands out above the rest that's not soon to be topped.
Skating: Paul Coffey . There might never have been a skater in league history more fluid and dynamic than Coffey. The Penguins got to have him for 4.5 of his best seasons from 1987-1992 and Coffey scored an unreal 440 points in 331 games as a Penguin and helped them to win their first Stanley Cup.
It's difficult to say if you never got the chance to watch him, but Paul Coffey with the puck on his stick and open ice ahead was sheer magic with what he could create. There will never be another like him and Pittsburgh was really lucky to enjoy him while he was at the top of his game.
Endurance: Marc-Andre Fleury. Cop out answer? Maybe. But show me a player that has endured more than Fleury, who has a franchise (goalie) high 574 games played, a franchise high 314 wins (and counting), has won a Cup and has battled for 12 years (and counting) to prove his worth each and every night.
No matter what, Fleury's defining moment came at the end of a 24 game playoff season, in his 84th game of the season and in an exhausting 7 game series against the mighty Red Wings who made a relentless pursuit to tie the game, MAF pushed from his left to right to make the most iconic save in franchise history and secure a Cup.
That's what we got, feel free to choose your own and let us know in the comments. But remember, only one player per category were the rules we lived by.