Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

When Tanking Started

07/30/2022 at 8:44am EDT

from Stan Fischler of The Hockey News,

The precedent for that was set four decades ago by the Pittsburgh Penguins; or so the legend goes. Take it or leave it.

During the 1983-84 season all eyes were on an oversized center playing for Laval in the Quebec Junior League. He was regarded as a sure-thing in the manner of a Bobby Orr and Jean Beliveau of bygone years.

Both the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins were the teams most likely to nab Lemieux. There were media types who criticized New Jersey coach Tom McVie for coaxing his players to play to their potential. "I want my team to win," insisted Devils owner Dr. John McMullen.

McVie: "We're here to win hockey games," McVie argued. "It's the honorable thing to do."

And so they did with critical homestretch wins over Pittsburgh and Boston. When the chips were down on the Pittsburgh side, the Penguins -- shall we say -- made some questionable lineup decisions that virtually ensured that they finished three points behind New Jersey. Lemieux would not be a Devil but honor was on the side of McMullen and McVie. And, by the way, still is.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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