Position: RW ▪ Shoots: Left
Height: 5-10 (178 cm)
Weight: 183 lbs. (83 kg)
Born: May 5, 1972 (Age 44.001) in Skalica, Czechoslovakia
Draft: NY Islanders, 2nd round (26th overall), 1991 NHL Entry
Today on the Once-A-Penguin blog we are taking a look at mullet king and Slovak Sensation Zigmund Palffy.
Condensed Pre/Post Penguins Career Highlights:
Champion – 1991–92
Most Assists – 1992–93
Most Goals – 1991–92
Most Points – 1991–92, 1992–93
Rookie of the Year – 1990–91
National Hockey League
All-Star Game – 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002
Most Assists - 1994
Most Points - 1994
All-Star Team – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
Most Assists – 2011–12
Most Goals – 2008–09
Most Points – 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13
World Junior Championships (U20)
Bronze Medal – 1991
Bronze Medal – 2003
Gold Medal – 2002
Most Points – 2003
For Complete stats visit: hockey-reference.com/players/p/palffzi01.html
Even just a quick look at those credentials tells us that Palffy was a Special Player and would be a welcomed addition to the Penguins Line-up.
What were the circumstances of his arrival? Read a little further.
(Palffy Came to Pittsburgh. Sadly, the mullet did not)
On August 8,2005 Pens General Manager Craig Patrick announced the signing of Palffy, terms of the multi-year deal (3 year) were not disclosed as was the Penguins Protocol at the time. You may remember that this was the first Season the Salary cap was implemented and Pittsburgh was rebuilding the franchise. Trying to insulate Sidney Crosby and maximize his potential with a strong supporting cast.
Other notable signings from that summer included Sergei Gonchar, John Leclair and Jocelyn Thibault.
At the time Palffy was considered one the NHL’s most prolific goal scorers. Averaging 34.2 goals per season and having cumulative stats of 642 games played, 318 goals, 353 assists for 671 points. Spending time with the Islanders and Kings.
Patrick said at the time, “Ziggy is an explosive offensive player who will fit in well with what we are trying to do here in Pittsburgh.” “He is a natural goal-scorer who has been consistently productive throughout his NHL career. We think our fans will enjoy watching him play.”
I was beyond excited about the signing when it happened. I thought wow what steal by the Pens.
Lemieux, Crosby, Palffy. It was about to be an exciting for the Penguins faithful.
That excitement lasted 42 games. During which Palffy put up 42 points (11 goals and 31 assists) He was not quite lighting the lamp up as the Pens brass projected. However, he was an active contributor to the offense and was fitting nicely into the mix.
This is where things take an interesting twist:
Palffy was beginning to get bitten by the injury bug in December of 2005 and missed a few games due to a pestering groin injury that was hindering his mobility. The groin injury only compounded a nagging shoulder injury that Palffy was playing through.
Around Mid-January of 2006 a Slovak newspaper reported that Palffy had decided to retire and it was unclear if it was going to be then or at the end of the season.
Palffy was quoted as saying “There is no point in suffering any longer, I have talked to my doctor and he did not recommend a third operation.”
This created a spectre of uncertainty around Palffy’s status. Was he retired or not ? Neither the Penguins or Palffy’s camp would comment officially. "I have agreed on all matters related to my retirement with the Pittsburgh management” was the only morsel that the Palffy offered up.
Craig Patrick responded, "I'm not going to talk about our discussion", only noting that Palffy had cited "personal reasons" for his decision.
Either way, Palffy decided an immediate retirement was the best choice for him and made the Penguins aware of his intentions on a Tuesday morning. Patrick did not report it to the media until Wednesday afternoon. Citing that he was hoping Palffy would have a change of heart.
He did not and that put an end To Zigmund Palffy’s Pittsburgh tenure.
Although Palffy was having a “disappointing” season by statisticians measure, it still left Pittsburgh with a hole in its lineup and without it’s 2nd leading scorer.
Post Penguins Career:
Sometimes a year away from the game can make all the difference and renew the spirit.
After sitting out the duration of the 2006-2007 season. Palffy announced he was coming out of retirement and returning to the HK 36 Skalica Franchise in the Slovak League, where he had played 9 games during the lockout season of 2004-2005 and 9 games during the 1998-199 season.
In all, Palffy went onto play 5 seasons with the HK 36 Skalica finally hanging up the skates after the 2012-2013 season.
One could only imagine what would have come to pass if Palffy managed to stick around another year and play with rookie Evgeni Malkin in the 2006-2007 season.
Thanks for reading.
Rememeber #onceApenguin always a Penguin!