Ronnie the Franchise to be reunited with Super Mario?

The Pittsburgh Penguins may be considering bringing back Ron Francis next season.


The veteran forward is a free agent after finishing last sesaon with the Toronto Maple Leafs and has been offered a front office position with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Penguins general manager Craig Patrick tells Fox Sports he recently spoke with Francis about a possible return.

“We’ll see how that works out,” said Patrick.

Francis, who left Pittsburgh in 1998 to join the Hurricanes, called the possibility of a return “an interesting scenario”.

“Ultimately for me I’ve gotta make a decision,” said Francis. “If there is a season and it starts in September, is it going to be 82 games long. Do I have it at 41 to still go through the training and stuff.”

Francis helped the Penguins to a pair of Stanley Cup titles in 1990 and 1991.”

Wow, Recchi back, maybe Kovalev and Ronnie too? And with the news of the Magnificent One healthy again, could the great Penguins of the past be planning a reunion?

Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be great to see all these guys together again, just for one more season? So what if some of their careers are winding down, they would provide the youth of the Pens tons of leadership and knowledge. This would surely start filling the seats in Pittsburgh again because if this doesn’t, then nothing EVER will.

39 Responses to Ronnie the Franchise to be reunited with Super Mario?

  1. eagle29 says:

    The Penguins won the cup in 1991 and 1992.

  2. Lint07 says:

    The Pittsburgh Penguins won the cup in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.

  3. kingmo15 says:

    You’ve got to be kidding. Sure, Ron Francis is a quality human and a stand-up guy, but I desperately do NOT want him back. This is simply a result of the media digging for something to write about this offseason given the free agent movement, or lack thereof.

    I feel Francis has the makeup of a potentially excellent coach, but as a player I feel he is well beyond his days of producing. First the Hull rumors, now Francis rumors…who’s next, Rick Tochett?

    Pens need to do TWO more things, and then pack their bags and call it an offseason.

    1. SIGN KOVALEV. suck it up Patrick. You have almost 2M surplus now that Moron Morozov’s contract is out of the picture. Add a modest sum to the offer outstanding to Kovalev and write him down as an employee for the next 3-4 years.

    and possibly 2. sign Jozef Stumple to center the 2nd line. He WILL be had for a sum equating to between 2-3 Million per season, maybe less. Put him between Kraft and Recchi and that will be a line that resembles the Y2K line of Lang-Straka-Kovalev line in terms of production.

    If Patrick can pull these two things off, the Penguins will make the playoffs next season.

  4. SabresAreCool says:

    No offense to Ron Francis, but I don’t think he’s got much gas left in the tank. He sure didn’t look impressive last season. Even with the Recchi signing the Pens are afew years away from the playoffs. Mario wont stay healthy, and Francis wouldnt make an offensive improvement, although his wisdow might help the young players

  5. SabresAreCool says:




  6. LeafyMcLeaf says:


  7. kingmo15 says:

    yeah, that’s right! All 4700 people in Winipeg want a hockey franchise. Give it to them! You could call them the Winipeg Yokels…

  8. wheresthesoda says:

    a lot of you are saying dont sign him, if they do sign him, he isnt going to be a top 6 foward, try a 3rd or 4th line center, who isnt gonna get a lot of ice time. he’s a leadershi pguy, who has a lot of knowledge, and can help some of the young guns out.

  9. qsilver31 says:

    Feels good for me, to see Francis go out as Pen…

  10. cgolding says:

    alright… it’s this simple.

    will you really and truly compete with old man francis in the lineup.


    play friggin prospects big minutes in big spots, you’ll be better off a year from now.

  11. Rico420 says:

    I agree but even if the Pens sign Francis to a contract like they did for Barasso just so he can retire a Penguin that’d be ok too.

    Francis could be like a playing coach, give him spot duty I mean he is 41 years old there isn’t a chance he’s going to win a scoring title or even score more then 20 goals now but he’s a character player which the Pens really need.

  12. jgibbs32 says:

    i just want to know where all this money is coming from? they signed Recchi and are in the hunt for Francis, Hull, Zhamnov, and Kovalev

    besides that though, i think the Pens signing Francis would be great, I would love to see him back here in the burgh and it would surely bring back some old fans to the seats.



  13. sixteenstone says:

    No Francis is to old to play anymore, belive id Love to see him put on the jersey again, but I dont think he could play 100% every night. I enjoyed while i could in Toronto 🙂 best to luck to Ronnie

  14. Tomato_84 says:

    Winnipegs population in 2001 was 671,274 (this is from the Statistics Canada website) …i dont know where u got your information from…but it appears your 666,574 people off

  15. chevykurt says:

    I don’t understand why most people are bashing this idea…

    For the posters who said about them winning the Cup in the early 90’s, where does it say in this post that they are making a Cup run? Players like Recchi, Mario, and Ronnie are smart enough to know that this team is far from a playoff team, it is simply a way to finish their careers, in the city that celebrated their careers and help develop the younger players.

    I’m a Leaf fan, but Toronto did nothing to honour Ronnie’s career and what he’s done for hockey. He is arguably one of the most underrated players ever in the game. One last send off in the city that he had some of his greatest successes is the way to end a spectacular career.

    And like someone else had mentioned, he wouldn’t be a 1st or 2nd line centre, unless Mario gets injured… again.

    So let the man end his career on his terms, if you’re gonna say it’s time for him to retire, then likewise for Messier, Larionov, etc.

  16. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    Not only is winnepeg a bigger city than some think – they also have a building to play in that ISN’T a toilet.

    They also have a LARGE LOYAL fan base which is more than anyone can say about Pitt. That fan base is what makes a city like Winn attactive. Teaching a new US city to love hockey is PRETTY damn hard – just ask Gary Bettman – he has failed in Anahiem, San Fran (San Jose), Miami, Carolina, Columbus and Phoenix.

  17. cgolding says:

    they need to develop character players that will be there for them when they are legitimately ready to compete… hell, if they didn’t need him in the lineup to sell tix, mario should retire and let the team grow from the youth up.

    he’s like MJ in washington… only hurting the development of younger players… neverminding the fact that they plan on him being there and then he gets hurt.

  18. cgolding says:

    i don’t ever agree with ripping a guy for not retiring… that’s crap. however, i do think it is fair to rip an organization for not helping their future with playing time if they are non-competitive.

    Rex is way younger, and led a team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals in scoring last year… so he’s a bit different story.

    if they sign him, i have nothing against Francis taking the gig and playing… but if i was a pitt fan i’d rather they wheel out a 20-year old to take those minutes and get the experience.

  19. rc21pa says:

    First things first. I Made a comment a while back that this is a Possibility and guess what.

    Now let’s put it this way. It’s either Francis or Reid Simpson / Kelly Buchberger. Honestly Ron Francis is better then either one of them at the age of 40 or 80. I would welcome Francis with open arms just for this fact. Plus Francis isn’t going to be offered much maybe 1.5 million at most.

    Rumors was that the Pens stepped down from Kovy because of Hull but now I see the Pens signing him soon. It would have been nice seeing Hull on the same line as Mario but Kovy is just as nice.

    In all honesty I believe the Pens are going to get serious in the next week or so and you will see a big name on the roster soon. (Probably Kovy)

    When all is said and done Francis will replace Simpson, Kovy will replace Morozov, LeClair will replace Buchberger, and last but not least there will be some player to slip though the cracks that is a star or could be a star and will probably fall to the Pens. Maybe even a Defender also might be added here.

  20. rc21pa says:

    Francis would be better then Kelly Buchberger on the roster and probably will be had for the same price too.

    The Pens should just offer Kovy a three year 9-12 million offer now and get it over with if he doesn’t sign that then just let him sweat it out. Any player that has half a brain would sign a deal like that now before the lockout just to be locked into a deal. That is why I say offer 9 million now and give him two weeks to sign.

    When LeClair is cut offer him a deal of some type to just to get him on board. I say the same deal as Francis would do the deal.

    as for Jozef Stumple, I don’t care for him if he can’t be had for under 2 million he isnt worth signing. Make Beech and Kraft step up there game instead.

  21. rc21pa says:

    Francis should replace Buchberger on the roster and that would be what he would do. Buchberger did nothing to help the team and Francis could put up the same numbers as Buchberger with two broken legs even at the age of 41.

    Francis is a upgrade of who he would replace and would make Beech a better center. That alone is worth the price of signing Francis.

    The End.

  22. rc21pa says:

    Francis is better then Buchberger. That is a fact. Sign Francis and have him help Beech. Everyone said Beech is a yound Francis, why not have Francis teach him everything he knows.

  23. rc21pa says:

    Francis is better then Buchberger. Replace Buchberger with Francis and maybe or youth will learn something. Just Maybe.

  24. rc21pa says:

    They Have NO Fan Base. If They Had One The Team Wouldn’t Have Move To Phoenix.

    IF the Pens move it will be to Kansas City. They offered a New Arena not a Piece of crap hand me down.

    You have to wait to run another hockey team out of you beautiful city.

  25. rc21pa says:

    Trust me watching that 20 year old come on to the ice and don’t know what he is doing (Beech and Kraft) is alot more painful then watching Francis teach them (especially Beech) what to do. Beech has been called a young Francis, why not bring in the man to teach the youngster what to do. Then maybe it won’t be so painful.

  26. cgolding says:

    cuz you learn from watching from the bench? idiotic belief.

    play the kids… develop them. don’t sign 41 year old guys who aren’t going to do anything significant in terms of help.

    it isn’t about tomorrow with the pens, it’s about next year… two years from now.

  27. cgolding says:

    you learn by playing, not watching.

  28. cgolding says:

    hire him as a friggin coach then… not a player…. guys don’t learn from watching someone else do it… they learn from doing it themselves. does it suck as a fan, yes.

    that the only way they get better though…

  29. cgolding says:


    he isn’t even bought out yet… and why is he going to go to pitt? no attachment, much more likely to go to boston or montreal if they have cap room…. neverminding that you don’t really want him cuz he brings very little to the table in terms of overall skills.

  30. Lint07 says:

    ”maybe a defensemen”

    How about: ”We’ve been scored 5 goals per game or more almost each week last season, do you think we could use 2, 3 or 4 solid defensemen in the offseason?”

    Yet, I only see the Pens signing forwards so far… I’m honnestly scratching my head over this.

  31. rc21pa says:

    Beech needs shown. He sure as hell can’t do it by playing. GOD KNOWS THE PENS TRYED.

  32. rc21pa says:

    and bring Kelly and Reid back on the roster. Sure why not. We can’t have someone on the ice with talent. That might be just crazy enough to work.

  33. rc21pa says:

    Tarnstrom, Jackman, Orpik, and Whitley are solid. They will either play to par or better and that is good enough. We have a deep need at offense. If we get on have decent name for our defense and pull out of our minors it will be good enough. We have no big scorer right now. Recchi is the closest and he by himself isn’t good enough.

  34. rc21pa says:

    Recchi and the chance to play on the same line with him again is cause enough. LeClair won’t be given much chance by to many teams. Pittsburgh might be the ones to give him the best chance to do something. Plus I’m sick of Kelly and Ried. John and Ron are upgrades by far and will serve the same purpose and that’s showing the youth on this team how to play like a winner. Kelly and Reid only show how to fill a roster spot and how to underachive.

  35. Lint07 says:

    what I meant is what’s the point in signing all those forwards when your biggest problem is OBVIOUSLY the defense? I’ve seen some of the most pathetic mistakes in recent history all commited by Pens d-men last year.

    However it wasn’t their fault because half of them were not even NHL caliber yet.

    So I ask you the question: What’s the point of losing 7-4 instead of 8-1?

    The Pens need 2 solid stay-at-home defensemen BEFORE anything. Dick Tarnstrom and Ric Jackman both allow 3 goals for every one they score. They should be 3rd and 4th d-men, not 1st and 2nd.

    Craig Patrick should focus on trying to sign two of Teppo Numminen, Lyle Odelein, Jason York, Murray Baron or Jon Klemm and then call it an offseason.

    Not only they need to help the young defensive group learn from veterans, but they must bring help on D to avoid ruining M-A Fleury’s development by being destroyed night in, night out… Remember Thibault & Blackburn?

  36. rc21pa says:

    Without Francis Beech will never achieve full potential. The Pens might as well cut him now instead of having another average center like Kraft. The Pens Centers need to learn by example their growing pains are getting worst every year. Next 80 game season Kraft and Beech would be lucky to get 10 goals each without some help.

  37. rc21pa says:

    Teppo Numminen – I would love to see him in a Pens uniform but would cost too much.

    Lyle Odelein – Not worth what he would ask for. Much better rasing Orpik and Whitley together on a line together.

    Jason York – I can agree but would want him for a multi year contract. Pens would never give it to him Unfortantly.

    Murray Baron – too expensive. Nice to have but a dream just like Numminen.

    Jon Klemm – This man with York would be a great team up but would want him for multi year contract too. Not possible and the short stints wouldn’t be worth it.

    If by some amazing outcome Patrick could sign York and Klemm I would hope he wouldn’t over spend and be able to buy a sharp shooter for PP and maybe a scoring treat.

    Like I said Recchi is a great signing but can’t alone put the puck in the net and solve our scoring woes. Need at least one of the two players I’m asking for to not be a joke.

    My wish list is this two off this list would be the help the pens need.

    Kovy, McAmmond, Selanne(wishing), Kariya(wishing again),T. Sloan, Chelios, Thomas(a little on the old side though), Francis(same but always gives 100%), Palffy(big time wish), Robitaille (Would love to see him in a Pens uniform again), Deadmarsh (Pens sould inquire), Allison (once again inquire),V. Damphousse (Wishing again), MacInnis (might teach the D something if not still damaged goods), Arvedson,C. MacDonald, Audette, Ronning, Bondra, Malakhov (why not), or Zhamnov (out of the Pens range but if they land him great).

    Two out any of these player I would consider a win and Maybe a chance of the playoffs.

  38. Lint07 says:

    I expect the Pens to sign Jozef Stumpel and try one last time to bring back Alex Kovalev…

  39. cgolding says:

    don’t be shocked if he heads north… what would be really interesting is where Lindros ends up, because they remain close friends.

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