Bill Guerin Retires as a Pittsburgh Penguin

After a distinguished 18-year NHL career spanning eight different cities, Bill Guerin has decided to hang up the skates.

Citing his ultimate wish to retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin, Guerin announced his retirement at a tearful press conference this morning at CONSOL Energy Center. Guerin played in 1,263 games over the course of his NHL career, recording 429 goals and 856 points for the New Jersey Devils (1992-1998), Edmonton Oilers (1998-2000), Boston Bruins (2000-2002), Dallas Stars (2002-2006), St. Louis Blues (2006-2007), San Jose Sharks (2007), New York Islanders (2007-2009) and of course, the Pittsburgh Penguins (2009-2010). Of note, Guerin is the only player in National Hockey League history to record a 20-goal season with seven different teams.

Before winning his second and final Stanley Cup in 2009 as a Pittsburgh Penguin, Guerin first captured Lord Stanley’s holy grail in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils. Guerin also appeared in four NHL All-Star Games in 2001 (where he was also named game MVP), 2003, 2004, and 2007.

In addition to his noteworthy NHL accomplishments, Guerin was a consistent star on the international stage, representing the United States at the Olympic Winter Games a total of three times; in Nagano in 1998, Salt Lake City in 2002 (winning a Silver Medal in the process), and Turin in 2006. Guerin was also a two-time participant in the World Cup of Hockey, winning the inaugural tournament in 1996 before finishing fourth in the tournament’s most recent instalment in 2004.

After a 21-goal, 45-point campaign in the 2009-10 season, Penguins GM Ray Shero declined to offer Guerin a new contract during the off-season, leading to speculation that Guerin would choose to continue on elsewhere rather than call it a career. He was ultimately invited to training camp by the Philadelphia Flyers, the 2010 Eastern Conference Champions, an invitation he accepted. Despite a fairly strong showing throughout the pre-season, the Flyers’ inconvenient logjam up front was indeed too much of an obstacle to overcome, and Guerin was ultimately released prior to the start of the 2010-11 season.

Along with this morning’s announcement, Guerin was honoured in a pre-game ceremony at CONSOL Energy Center prior to puck drop of the Pens’ match against, coincidentally, the aforementioned New Jersey Devils, the team where Guerin honed his craft for the first five seasons of his NHL career, and as mentioned earlier, also won his first Stanley Cup in 1995. He was greeted with a thunderous ovation from the capacity crowd – one well deserved for one of hockey’s true class acts, through and through.

3 Comments

Quinn Mell-Cobb's picture

When I went to the Canucks' game against the Penguins last season I waited at the players' entrance hoping the catch a glimpse of some of the players and Guerin is one of the few who stopped, along with Max Talbot and coaches Dan Bylsma and Tony Granato, to talk to the other fans and I. Guerin had a fairly long conversation with me about the game that night and how the team was doing that year, shook my hand and signed my powder blue jersey before going into the building.

That's my personal experience with him, and when I thought about it I was inspired to write this particular article here. Like I said, absolute class act.

George Prax's picture

Well this is the first potential 2013 first ballot hall of famer. I don't think he'll go in for a while as there's a severe backlog in the next couple of years but it's going to be interesting to see if he has a shot. I didn't consider his stat of having 20 goals seasons with 7 different teams, that's a remarkable stat. Two cups, and a big part of both, and as you said a major player on the international scene. I think it's going to be one of those players who makes it in in 5-10 years.

One thing I wanted to mention and I did this in that forum thread, but I don't really think it was his choice to retire as a Pen lol. It's not like he didn't try to continue his career. Philly said no, Montreal said no, and even if there were a couple of teams offering I don't think he'd go to a team that had no chance of winning just to be a mentor. He kind of only retired because he had no choice. He's definitely a class act but I think he would have saved some face if he retired at the end of last season and not 2 months into this season... but that's just my 2 cents.