Bill Guerin Will Retire and Return To Grateful Pittsburgh Penguins Franchise

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Bill Guerin Will Retire and Return To Grateful Pittsburgh Penguins Franchise
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Bill Guerin, an 18-year veteran of the NHL who just celebrated his 40th birthday, is set to announce his retirement after the Thanksgiving Holidays and join the Pittsburgh Penguins' hockey operations staff in January, according to a tweet from Inside Pittsburgh Sports.

The tweet also mentions Guerin will work closely with assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald, and his scouting base will be in the New York area.

Pens fans will be ecstatic to hear that a favorite piece to the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion team is retiring in black and gold, and not orange and black. Despite Guerin's short stint as a Penguin, he made a lasting impression on the players, fans and franchise because of his demeanor on the ice and likable personality off the ice.

He also had a knack for the humorous, especially when cameras and interviews were rolling.

What made Guerin so special is that he came at a time when the team needed him the most.

Less than a year removed from their failed run to the Stanley Cup Finals, Guerin was acquired via trade from the dying New York Islanders for a conditional draft pick. GM Ray Shero hoped the former captain would become a positive influence on the young players and even provide a scoring spark that influenced his entire NHL career.

How possible was winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 without Guerin

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The chemistry he found with Sidney Crosby was immediate and impactful.

With the help of Guerin, the Pens strolled along to an 18-3-4 finish at the end of the season. Guerin also scored key goals in the playoffs, finishing third on the Pens in scoring behind Crosby and Conn Smyth winner Evgeni Malkin.

What Guerin meant to that Penguins team can be described by Crosby passing the Cup to Guerin first, even before Sergei Gonchar who, in his 35 years of age, had yet to touch Lord Stanley's chalice. Simply put, the Pens, Crosby especially, understood there would be no Stanley Cup without Guerin.

The Pens celebrated their comeback win with a huge parade in downtown Pittsburgh. When it was Guerin's turn to take the podium, he was met with the fans' chants of "one more year!"

Guerin, and Shero, was more than happy to oblige.

The following season, Guerin posted his 13th 20-goal season and a respectable 43 points. Those numbers, however, wouldn't be enough for Shero to resign the veteran another year.

As a fan of Guerin, it was disappointing to see.

But as a business move, Shero was on the money. It was time to move on.

There was a brief moment of horror when fans heard that Guerin was given a tryout for the cross-state rival Philadelphia Flyers. Guerin remained unsigned after appearing in a few preseason games, and he was let go.

And all of Western PA let out a huge sigh of relief.

After no activity almost two months into the season, Guerin has finally decided to hang up the skates. And I know the Penguins' fanbase couldn't be more happy that he is sticking around with the team that brought him his second Stanley Cup.

Clearly as much of an impact he had on the team and fans, we had a similar impact on him.

Thank you, Billy Guerin, for all that you have done for us and for the development of this team. We welcome you back to the city of Pittsburgh with open arms, even if you momentarily thought orange and black could be your thing.

 

Laura Falcon is a Featured Columnist for the Pittsburgh Penguins and a college writing intern for Bleacher ReportFollow her on Twitter or email her at lfalcon@mail.umw.edu with any comments.

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