Using the first letters of the players’ last names, the line became known as the HBK Line -- a name reminiscent of Shawn Michaels, who was known as The Heartbreak Kid (HBK) in his WWE heyday.
In the 29 games (including playoffs) since the Penguins’ HBK Line was formed, the three players have combined for 82 points. Word has reached Michaels about the HBK Line, and he recently gave the line his thumbs-up in a tweet.
In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, Hagelin opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the postseason, Bonino had an assist on the Penguins’ second goal, and Kessel had a goal and an assist. He leads the Penguins with 16 points this postseason.
- Marian Hossa: 26 points in 2008
- Ryan Malone: 16 points in 2008
- Kris Letang: 16 points in 2013
- Kessel: 16 points in 2016
The Penguins have tried to entice Michaels into going to Game 5 in Pittsburgh, inviting him on Twitter earlier Wednesday.
In honor of the HBK line (which is on 🔥), we would like to formally invite the original Heartbreak Kid, @ShawnMichaels, to Game 5. You in?— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 18, 2016
Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is also doing his best to entice Michaels to come to Pittsburgh for Game 5.
I'll save a seat for you @ShawnMichaels— Brett Keisel (@bkeisel99) May 19, 2016
It appears Michaels is going to make an announcement on Thursday about whether he'll go to Game 5.
It’s not the first time Michaels has endeared himself to fans of Pittsburgh teams. During the Royal Rumble in Pittsburgh in January 2014, Michaels (along with Ric Flair) was seen backstage with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
And it’s not the first connection between the WWE and pro teams during playoff time: During the 2014 National League division series, Daniel Bryan got the crowd at AT&T Park pumped up with his “YES, YES, YES!” chant when he asked the crowd if the San Francisco Giants were going to win the World Series (which they did). The NHL’s New York Islanders have also adopted the chant both when they score a goal at home and when they celebrate a win at center ice.
And during the 2015 NBA Finals, Flair energized the crowd in Cleveland during a timeout in Game 4.