Mario Lemieux -- Career Timeline

Updated: January 24, 2006, 5:13 PM ET
Associated Press

Here is a chronology of the career of Mario Lemieux:

June 1984
Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft.

Oct. 11, 1984
Makes NHL debut at Boston. Scores a goal on his first shot on his first NHL shift, against Bruins goalie Pete Peeters.

1984-85
Wins Calder Trophy after becoming only the third rookie in NHL history to score 100 or more points (43 goals, 57 assists).

1985-86
Given the Lester B. Pearson Award by the NHL Players' Association to the league's best player. Finishes second to Wayne Gretzky in scoring race with 141 points (48, 93) and Hart Trophy voting.

1986-87
Leads Penguins in goals (54) and assists (53) despite playing in only 63 games due to sprained right knee and bronchitis.

1987-88
Wins Hart Trophy as league MVP, Art Ross Trophy as scoring leader with 168 points (70, 98), and Pearson Award again.

1988-89
Wins second straight scoring title with 199 points (85, 114). Sets single-season record with 13 short-handed goals. Becomes only second player (Wayne Gretzky) to score 70 goals in two seasons.

1989-90
Finishes fourth in league in scoring with 123 points (45, 78) despite missing 21 games due to herniated back.

July 11, 1990
Has surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back.

1990-91
Misses first 50 games recovering from a rare bone disease resulting from a surgery-related infection. Wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, scoring 44 points (16, 28), leading Pittsburgh to first Stanley Cup championship.

1991-92
Wins third scoring title with 131 points (44, 87). Breaks his left hand when slashed by the New York Rangers' Adam Graves in Game 2 of Patrick Division finals, but returns after missing only five games. Wins Conn Smythe Trophy again, scoring 34 points (16, 18) as Pittsburgh won second straight Stanley Cup.

January 1993
Diagnosed with a Nodular Lymphocytic form of Hodgkin's disease.

February, March 1993
Has radiation treatment.

1992-93
Plays in only 60 games after recovering from Hodgkins' disease. Wins fourth scoring title with 160 points (69, 91). Wins Hart Trophy for second time. Awarded Pearson Award again. Awarded Masterton Trophy as player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

July 28, 1993
Has second back surgery in three years to repair herniated muscle in back.

1993-94
Misses first 10 games recovering from surgery and a total of 58 games with back problems.

Aug. 29, 1994
Announces he is taking a medical leave of absence due to fatigue, an after-effect of his 1993 radiation treatments, and will sit out 1994-95 season.

June 20, 1995
Announces he will return for the 1995-96 season.

Oct. 26, 1995
Scores 500th career goal at New York Islanders in his 605th game, becoming the second-fastest player (Gretzky -- 575th) to attain the plateau.

1995-96
Wins third Hart Trophy as MVP, becoming only seventh player to achieve the feat at least three times. Becomes fourth player to win fifth scoring title with 161 points (69, 92). Leads NHL in power-play goals (31), ties for third-highest single-season total in league history.

Feb. 4, 1997
Scores 600th career goal vs. Vancouver in his 719th game, becoming the second-fastest player (Gretzky, 718th) to reach the milestone.

1996-97
Wins sixth scoring title with 122 points (50, 72). Records 10th career 100-point season, second only to Gretzky's record of 15.

April 6, 1997
Announces he will retire following the playoffs.

April 26, 1997
Has a goal and an assist in his final NHL game as Pittsburgh lost 6-3 to Philadelphia and is eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in five games.

Sept. 3, 1999
Lemieux's ownership group officially takes over Penguins on eve of training camp opening. Lemieux rolls much of the $26 million-plus owed him in deferred payments into an equity stake and acquires nearly a dozen new investors to buy team that was more than $100 million in debt. Lemieux becomes first player in the modern era of sports to buy the team he once played for.

Dec. 8, 2000
Penguins announce Lemieux will end his retirement and rejoin the lineup by the end of the month as the first modern owner-player in major U.S. pro sports.

Dec. 27, 2000
Playing in his first game in 44 months, Lemieux has an assist just 33 seconds into his first shift and finishes with a goal and two assists against Toronto.

April 2001
Ends comeback regular season with 76 points in only 43 games and is the runnerup to Joe Sakic for the Pearson Award. Goes on to lead Penguins to two playoff round victories and Eastern Conference final against New Jersey.

2001-02 season
Limited to 24 games by a hip injury, has 31 points and becomes the seventh player in NHL history with 1,600 points in his career. Just before the injury shuts him down for the rest of the NHL season, he captains Canada's gold medal-winning team in the Salt Lake City Olympics, his first Olympic medal.

2002-03 season
Leads Penguins with 91 points (28 goals, 63 assists) in 67 games, his most since playing in 76 games in 1996-97, and ranks eighth in the league in scoring. Named All-Star Game starter but misses game with an injury.

2003-04 season
Limited to career-low 10 games by a back injury that forces him to miss the final five months of the season. Without Lemieux, Penguins finish last in overall standings for the first time since 1984, the year Penguins drafted Lemieux.

Feb. 16, 2005
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cancels the NHL season, the first time a labor impasse has wiped out an entire season in a major American pro sports league. Because of it, Lemieux misses a full season for the fifth time since being drafted in 1984.

July 30, 2005
Following the settlement of the labor dispute, the Penguins select highly touted forward Sidney Crosby with the first pick in the NHL draft.

Dec. 7, 2005
Lemieux is admitted to a Pittsburgh hospital and treated for atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes a rapid heartbeat. He is released the next day and returns to the ice for practice a week later.

Dec. 16, 2006
Lemieux plays in his final game, recording an assist in a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

Dec. 17, 2006
A recurrence of his irregular heartbeat sidelines Lemieux indefinitely.

Jan. 19, 2006
Lemieux announces the team is up for sale after the Penguins reach an agreement with a gambling firm that would build a new, $290 million arena if the casino company gets a license to operate a slots parlor in Pittsburgh.

Jan. 24, 2006
Lemieux retires for the second time.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press