Mario doesn't want No. 66 re-retirement ceremony
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Mario Lemieux specialized in the spectacular throughout his time in the NHL, but the final act of his playing career will be decidedly low-key.
The Penguins, at Lemieux's request, will not stage an extravagant ceremony to re-retire his No. 66 sweater.
Instead, the sweater will be returned quietly to its previous place of honor near the Mellon Arena roof shortly before the Penguins' regular-season home opener against Philadelphia Oct. 5.
And while there likely will be some sort of acknowledgement -- perhaps a spotlight on the number, accompanied by video highlights of Lemieux -- the night of the Flyers game, there will be a minimum of fuss and fanfare.
"We're not going to do an official retirement [ceremony]," said Tom McMillan, the team's vice president of communications. "Mario's style has always been very understated, and he didn't want to do an elaborate ceremony. We did that back in 1997 [when Lemieux's number was retired for the first time].
"He's excited about this young team, and wants the focus to be on the young guys and the future."
Lemieux retired initially after the 1996-97 season, but resumed his playing career late in 2000. Health problems, particularly an irregular heartbeat, convinced him to retire for good last winter.
He is the franchise's primary owner and is in the process of trying to sell it, but that apparently played no role in his decision to downplay his sweater retirement.
Lemieux, who watched part of yesterday's rookie-camp workout at Mellon Arena while surrounded by scouts and members of the front office, will turn 41 on the day of the opener.
First Published September 13, 2006 12:00 am