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Welcome to The Real DFG's Pittsburgh Penguin Autograph Project. My goal is to eventually try and get at least one autograph of every player to lace up the skates in an NHL game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. It could have been for one game or 700 games, I will add them. Occasionally I may post cards of former players in their new team uniforms. While the goal is to get autos in Pens uni's, it isn't always possible. Since the team has been in existence since 1967, the list is pretty large. Last I checked, it was somewhere in the range of 624 different players. Currently, I sit at about 100 autographs (with some duplication). Enjoy the posts.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Francois Leroux

Ahhh, good ole' Frankie Leroux.  This guy was picked up from Ottawa in a waiver draft back in 1994-95 for one reason...his physicality.  This guy was a hulk.  He stood 6'6" without skates and clocked in at over 250lbs.  His sheer size alone scared guys on the other team, and his own.

Because of his size, he was, of course, called on to do a lot of the dirty work of hockey.  Some of his fights are stuff of legend.  Others, I saw first hand so I know what damage he could do.  He tallied 577 penalty minutes in his career and most of them were fighting minutes.

The game that I can recall was a game back in 1996.  Mario Lemieux had already scored 4 goals against the St. Louis Blues and the Pens were looking like the Cup years in this game.  Leroux had just come out of the penalty box and went straight for Tony Twist.  This had been brewing all game long and it's amazing it hadn't happened already.  Looking to get the team some momentum, Twist obliged the fight and went toe-to-toe with the much larger Leroux.  He should have thought twice because after doing the dance for about half a minute, Leroux clocked him in the side of the face, not once, not twice, but three times.  After Twist hit the ice, a heap of zebras piled on as he desperately tried to wiggle his way out to go after Leroux again.  But it was too late.  His jersey was off, his face was a bloody mess, and the crowd was chanting "Frankie, Frankie, Frankie".

The next season, the Pens played the Blues in St. Louis and on his first shift on the ice, Twist again went after Leroux.  Only this time, Leroux was tripped up by a loose or broken stick (I don't remember which) and his skates and went down before many punches were thrown.  The class act that Twist was led to a half dozen or more punches to the back of the head and neck of Leroux as he was turtled on the ice.

Frankie went on to play for Colorado and then spent quite a few years in the AHL.  In 2002, the Pens resigned him to a two-way contract to play for WBS and the Pens but he never made it up to the bigs and was traded to Phoenix mid-season with Jan Hrdina for a handful of nothingness (Ramzi Abid, Dan Focht, and Guillaume Lefebvre).

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