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The Pittsburgh Penguins are cleaning house up and down their organization. Coach Dan Bylsma? Fired. General manager Ray Shero? Fired. Roster moves? TBD.

Add one more order of business to the to-do list for the Pens: change their jerseys.

Bringing back the Gold: Pittsburgh will reintroduce the colors they stole from the B's, erm, I mean they borrowed from the Steelers and the Pirates (via penguins.com)

According to SportsLogos.net, the Penguins will be revamping their alternate jerseys to reintroduce "Pittsburgh Gold" to their template, which hasn't been used since the end of the 2002 season.

The Penguins wearing black and gold was famously met with harsh criticism and pointed venom by former legendary coach and general manger of the Boston Bruins, Harry Sinden. When the Penguins flipped their varying shades of blue, used since their creation in the 1967 season, to black and gold in 1980, Sinden was livid, claiming the Penguins were stealing Boston's identity:

“It was one of the most depressing days in my time here...One of the Pittsburgh owners, Paul Martha, came up with the idea that the winning teams in Pittsburgh wore black and gold, and he wanted to change the Penguins uniforms to that color for that reason. I protested like hell over it because we’d had those colors for 60 years. We were the only team in the league with those colors, and it was a real identity for us...What do you think [NFL Commissioner] Pete Rozelle would say if the Patriots — who were red, white, and blue — came to him and said, ‘The Bruins are winners, we’d like to have the same colors as the Bruins’? They would then have been the same colors as the Steelers, and Rozelle would have told the Patriots to take a hike. Which would have been the right thing to do.

Sinden, who was known for butting heads time and again with others around the league, found no one in Boston's corner on the matter:
No matter how much I protested, it fell on deaf ears. I had a jersey made up with our uniform and the Bruins logo all made up in the Detroit Red Wings colors. I was going to bring it to the NHL Board of Directors and ask if I could change our uniforms to the same colors as the Red Wings. But they were already mad at me and I didn’t have the guts to bring it out. I’d like to laugh about it, but I don’t laugh about it because it was something I really treasured at that time. Pittsburgh’s gold color is not exactly the same as our gold. That’s one of the ways they tried to get around it. But that really bothered me. I told [NHL president] John Ziegler a couple of times that nothing pissed me off more than that.’’

Sinden has been involved in some way or another with the Bruin organization for nearly five decades. For all of his accomplishments, including a Stanley Cup Championship in 1970, five other trips to the Finals serving as GM and a nearly 30-year tenure at the position for Boston, his brash, outspoken and pointed personality is often what is remembered of the 81-year-old NHL-everything man.

Another one of his more infamous incidents was when he took Ray Bourque (you know, THAT Ray Bourque) to salary arbitration following the 1992-93 season and won, with the arbiter giving Bourque $2 million less than what he had fought for. Sinden had threatened to trade Bourque if they arbiter had taken Bourque's side in the case.

Bourque was pushing for more money after the New York Rangers had signed defenseman Brian Leetch to a seven-year deal a season before. Sinden said after the fact,  
"We had to face the fact that the Rangers paid him more than Bourque...[Leetch did not deserve to be paid] anywhere near where he was...When you have to fight players like Leetch, who get their money for very little accomplishment, you've got a difficult problem on your hands."

How about a word to then-president of the NHLPA, Bob Goodenow? "He challenged the wrong guy and the wrong team."

The Penguins stealing the black and gold is often brought up as one of Sinden's most memorable rants and one that has been retold in the circles of the NHL that provide a pretty good laugh.

Now that the Pens are bringing back "Pittsburgh Gold," I'll bet a sizable chunk of change that they'll don the retro look versus the Bruins next season.

I'm sure Sinden will have the puke bucket next to him at puck drop.

Mark Burke 6/10/2014 08:02:00 PM Edit

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