It's not often the co-owner of a team is also one of its greatest legends as a player, but that's what the Pittsburgh Penguins have with Mario Lemieux. Now his team is a win away from bringing a fourth Stanley Cup to the Steel City.
Over the last few years, Lemieux's desperation to win another Cup has been evident. He knows as well as anyone else that this group probably should have hoisted a few more Cups with a core that includes Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. But the wait for second title in the Crosby era appears to be nearly over and Le Magnifique can almost taste it.
In a tense third period during which the Penguins barely held onto their lead, there was some immediate relief when Eric Fehr scored to make it a 3-1 game late. Aside from maybe Fehr himself, no one felt better about that goal than the owner.
The often reserved Lemieux was pretty fired up and was all over this play from the second Carl Hagelin sent a pass to Fehr in open ice. Have a look at the play (Lemieux's full reaction is towards the end).
Even a fist pump from Lemieux seems like excessive celebration for him. These wins can be so hard to come by and a 3-1 series is a whole heck of a lot more comfortable than 2-2. Fehr's tally took some of the pressure off.
Now the Penguins are a win away from hoisting the Cup once again. It would be Lemieux's fourth as well, having won the first two as a player and the last one as an owner. However, of those three previous titles, none of them were won in Pittsburgh. A win Thursday starts the party.
It's kind of amazing how this season has gone. Just last year, Lemieux and co-owner Ron Burkle admitted they had hired a company to explore their options for selling the team. Nothing has really progressed on that front, but you'd have to think Lemieux is pretty content with where things stand now.