Penguins retire Briere's number

The Pittsburgh Penguins will replace the No. 66 they removed from the Mellon Arena rafters with No. 21.

The Penguins will retire the late Michel Briere's No. 21 -- a number that has never been assigned to another player since his death nearly 30 years ago -- before Friday's game against Montreal.

Briere had 44 points in 76 regular-season games and eight in 10 playoff games in his only NHL season in 1970-71 before suffering fatal head injuries in a car crash outside of Montreal in May 1971.

Jean Pronovost, who played on Briere's line that season and helped ease him into the NHL, will take part in the jersey retirement ceremonies.

Also attending will be Briere's son Martin, who will travel to Pittsburgh for the first time.

Briere's retired number will be the only one hanging in Mellon Arena. Last week, the Penguins took down No. 66 when team owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux ended his 3 1/2-year retirement.

Lemieux's number will hang in the rafters again once he ends his career for a second time.