Mario Lemieux doesn’t belong on the NHL’s Mount Rushmore, but only because he deserves his own peak. No one has ever performed at a higher level. No one has ever produced a more complete package.
That, ultimately, should be the signature for No. 66’s career. He wasn’t the most prolific, like Wayne Gretzky. He didn’t revolutionize the game, like Bobby Orr. He didn’t rule the sport for a quarter-century, like Gordie Howe. But Lemieux brought a combination of size and speed, skill and smarts, finesse and finish, Jean Beliveau-level grace and championship-level grit. And when put together, it was the likes of which the game has never seen before or since inside a single sweater.
Lemieux was exactly what his surname means in his native French: the best.
I’m a born-and-bred Pittsburgher. I wa...
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