The Pittsburgh Penguins began their 2023-24 season on Tuesday by losing to the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, after the Blackhawks scored four unanswered goals. But as the game got underway, the team made a little bit of history in the process.
The Penguins’ trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang began playing with each other for the 18th consecutive season, setting a North American sports record. The group broke the previous record of a trio playing 17 consecutive seasons together, which was held by the New York Yankees trio of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.
This group has accomplished quite a bit during their time in Pittsburgh. The Penguins won Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016 and 2017 with Crosby, Malkin and Letang helping to lead the way.
“I’ve always said and believed that these guys are the greatest core that I’ve certainly been around and witnessed,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told NHL.com. “They’re in elite company without a doubt, the guys you mentioned with the Yankees, for example. These guys are in elite company from a core standpoint. … They’re generational talents, I think that speaks for itself. But all the other intangibles that they bring to the table, they just represent everything that’s great about hockey.”
Crosby, Malkin and Letang began sharing the ice during the 2006-07 season, which was the year after Crosby debuted in the NHL. Crosby and Malkin were also both No. 1 pick as Crosby was the top pick in 2005 and Malkin was the No. 1 pick in the previous year.
“It’s just special. There’s no other way to put it,” Crosby added. “It’s not easy. There are so many factors. So much turnover with teams, especially nowadays where you see that it’s so uncommon that players can stay with the same team. The fact we were able to do that, it’s really special.
“You appreciate that. You’re grateful for that, and hopefully, a few more years left here together.”
All three are signed for at least the next two seasons, and the team is attempting to make a few more Stanley Cup runs after adding defenseman Erik Karlsson in the offseason.