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Penguins trio sets all-time record after starting 18th season together

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Penguins trio sets all-time record after starting 18th season together

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There is an entire generation of Pittsburgh Penguins fans who only know one era of black-and-yellow hockey.

On Tuesday night, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin took the ice to begin their 18th season together as teammates.

Not only is that the most seasons by any trio in NHL history, but it’s now the longest tenure of any group of three teammates in the history of the four North American big leagues.

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Letang, Crosby, and Malkin

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) celebrates with Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel (81), Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) after scoring a goal in the second period of the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 10, 2016, at Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida.  (Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Three members of the New York Yankees’ “Core Four” previously held the record, as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada suited up in navy blue pinstripes for 17 seasons together. Andy Pettitte is the other member of the Core Four, but he briefly spent time with the Houston Astros and retired before a comeback to the big leagues.

Crosby was the first overall selection of the 2005 NHL Draft and wasted zero time, making his NHL debut when that season started and notching his first point in that game. Crosby, of course, has lived up to the billing and hype he has received, as he is now a nine-time All-Star and two-time Hart Trophy winner and made the 2010s All-Decade first team.

Penguins captain Sydney Crosby looks on during a game against the Blackhawks

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on during the first period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks on April 11, 2023, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.  (Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Malkin was the second overall pick in 2004 and made his NHL debut two years later. He won the Hart Trophy in 2012 and has had seven All-Star nods.

Letang, a six-time All-Star, was the 62nd overall selection in 2005, the same year Crosby was selected with the top spot.

Perhaps there was a passing of the torch of some sort in the game. Meeting face to face with Crosby at center ice for the opening face-off was Connor Bedard, who was making his NHL debut.

Bedard was the No. 1 selection in this year’s NHL Draft and has drawn comparisons to Crosby, his childhood hero. Like Crosby, there was no doubt that Bedard would be taken first overall, as he has been considered can’t-miss. Also like his childhood hero, Bedard recorded an assist in his NHL debut. Bedard, 18, was just 20 days old when Crosby played in his first NHL game.

Sidney Crosby, #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Connor Bedard, #98 of the Chicago Blackhawks, prepare for a face-off at PPG PAINTS Arena on October 10, 2023, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Penguins trio have won three Stanley Cups together, including back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017. However, their 18th season kicked off with a loss to Bedard’s Chicago Blackhawks.

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