The NHL draft had wrapped up at Consol Energy Center in the summer of 2012, and a Penguins management group went to dinner -- always an adventure when Bill Guerin is in the house.
Let general manager Ray Shero take it from there ...
"Billy asked the waitress, 'How much is coffee?' " Shero recalled Thursday. "She said it was $2.50. He asked her how much refills are. She said, 'Refills are free.'
"So he said, 'I'll have a refill.' "
Shero's sons roared, and that became one their favorite Guerin stories.
For Shero, there are a collection of moments that make him glad he acquired Guerin at the 2009 trade deadline, in time for the Penguins' march to the Stanley Cup that year, and then hired him as the club's development coach.
Some of the moments are hysterical -- "He's one of the funniest guys I've met," Shero said -- and others are deeply sincere.
"He had an impact on the ice, on the team and in the community," Shero said. "He's very serious when it comes to hockey and family."
Guerin retired after the 2009-10 season. His final months in the NHL with the Penguins were but a slice of his playing career. That career was distinguished enough that he was one of five people selected for the 2013 class of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame that was revealed Thursday.
"My favorite part about playing hockey is the people," Guerin said during a teleconference. "I played on eight [NHL] teams. I came in contact with some incredible people that have become lifelong friends from the game.
"The game has given me everything. It owes me nothing. I owe the game everything."
Guerin, 42, also played for New Jersey, Edmonton, Boston, Dallas, St. Louis, San Jose and the New York Islanders. He ranks seventh among U.S.-born players with 429 goals, eighth with 130 power-play goals, fourth with 77 game-winning goals and 13th with 856 points.
He won his first Cup with the Devils in 1995, then waited 14 years to win his second with the Penguins. At his request, he retired as a Penguin during an emotional ceremony at a game Dec. 6, 2010.
Guerin also played for the United States in several international competitions, including the 1998 and 2002 Olympics and the 1996 World Cup. The Americans won the silver medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and gold at the 1996 World Cup.
"It was always a dream, ever since I knew what USA Hockey was back in 1980 when the 'Miracle on Ice' happened," Guerin said.
"I was fortunate enough to be able to live out a dream."
He was part of what has been called American hockey's greatest generation, in the late 1980s and through the 1990s.
So was longtime NHL player Doug Weight, a friend of Guerin's and now a fellow 2013 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame selectee. The others going in this year are pioneering women's national team player Cindy Curley, Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. and Ron Mason, who won 924 men's college hockey games as coach at Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Michigan State.
The date and location of the induction ceremony will be announced later.
Guerin was power forward, but he also was tough as nails. He loved to bust chops, and his veteran presence with young players such as linemate Sidney Crosby was a factor in that 2009 Cup chase.
He was acquired by the Penguins at the trade deadline that March.
"He had an impact on our young players," said Shero, who is tapping into that resource by having Guerin work with the organization's prospects.
Guerin pointed to his two Stanley Cups and Olympic silver medal as the most-cherished moments of his career, particularly since the silver medal came in the United States.
"It was a tough loss to Canada that day, but I can look on my mantle and see a silver medal," he said of the tournament final. "I'm very proud of that."
Even after the United States pulled off the "Miracle on Ice" upset of the Soviet Union and went on to win the gold medal at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., Guerin felt that American hockey didn't reach par status with other world hockey powers until the World Cup in 1996.
"I felt the attitude was different," he said.
"Canada set the bar. We had been beaten by them a number of times. We had been pushed around by them a number of times.
"We had a very special group, a very talented group of guys that had a nice mix of talent and swagger and hard work. I think that tournament, it all came to a head. It all worked out well for us."
As it did for Guerin for years afterward.
For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: email@example.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published July 26, 2013 4:00 AM