Led by owner Mario Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins alumni will take on a team of former Washington Capitals greats on Dec. 31 at 9:30 a.m. as a warmup to the Winter Classic game at Heinz Field on Jan. 1. The rosters for both teams have been announced with many of the expected names but also a few surprises. From the official press release:
Hall of Famers Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Bryan Trottier and Larry Murphy will join Lemieux on the Penguins’ roster, while two alumni rookies – Gary Roberts and Billy Guerin – will add some much-needed “youth” to the team.
Other alums playing for the Penguins include Phil Bourque, Rob Brown, Rod Buskas, Jay Caufield, Bob Errey, Dave Hannan, Francois Leroux, Troy Loney, Greg Malone, Gilles Meloche, Craig Simpson, Frank Pietrangelo, Gary Rissling, Rick Tocchet, Kevin Stevens and Warren Young.
Eddie Johnston, Pierre Larouche and Randy Hillier will coach the Penguins, and Jack Riley – the team’s original general manager in 1967 – will serve as GM.
Bondra, a 500-goal scorer in his NHL career, leads the Caps’ roster, which also includes Michal Pivonka, Scott Walker, Sylvain Cote, Greg Adams, Don Beaupre, Alan Hanglesben, Nick Kypreos, Yvon Labre, Gord Lane, Craig Laughlin, Mark Lofthouse, Denis Maruk, Alan May, Paul Mulvey, Robert Picard, Errol Rausse, Pat Ribble, Ken Sabourin and Blair Stewart. Others may be added in the coming days.
Watching Lemieux score on Beaupre one last time will be a great site to see, and reuniting Bondra and Pivonka on a line will give the Caps squad some serious firepower up front.
But Francois Leroux? Proud owner of three goals and 577 career penalty minutes at the NHL level?
Scott Walker? He only played nine games for the Capitals last year. Huh?
More names may be announced in the coming weeks, but for now it looks like the Penguins team will be a little more familiar to the younger generation.
Tickets for the game go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at www.ticketmaster.com and seating capacity will be 10,000. The $25 admission will also give fans access to the Penguins’ practice following the Alumni Game.