After all these years, Mario Lemieux came up big for the Pittsburgh Penguins while pre-Ovechkin era star Peter Bondra shined for the Washington Capitals in this morning’s alumni game featuring greats from both franchises. The game ended in a 5-5 tie thanks in large part to their exciting efforts.
Lemieux dazzled with his mere presence, but also produced results, offering up two assists in the game. It almost makes too much sense that one of his assists went to Rob Brown, a player who was a star alongside Super Mario many years ago and quite normal without him. If any image conjures up memories revealing just how powerful some of those Penguins’ offensive teams were, it was a power play that included Lemieux, Ron Francis and Paul Coffey.
Yet for all that marquee talent playing on Pittsburgh’s side, the lesser known Capitals alumni held their own in a contest with an All-Star Game’s lack of defensive interest. Perhaps it’s fitting, too, that Bondra scored what was ultimately the game-tying goal with a heck of a shot. Younger (and/or “newer”?) D.C. fans might not realize that the franchise featured a Russian star before Ovi, but Bondra was an outstanding winger worthy of at least some Hockey Hall of Fame consideration.
The game didn’t boast the kind of energy, physicality and vitriol one can expect from tomorrow afternoon’s feature attraction, but it was still a splendid celebration of outdoor hockey. Check out a highlight package from the game in the video below.