Mike Peluso (ice hockey b. 1965)
November 8, 1965 |
Pengilly, MN, USA
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||225 lb (102 kg; 16 st 1 lb)|
|Played for||Chicago Blackhawks (1990–1992)
Ottawa Senators (1992–1993)
New Jersey Devils (1993–1996)
St. Louis Blues (1996–1997)
Calgary Flames (1997–1998)
|NHL Draft||190th overall, 1984
New Jersey Devils
Michael David Peluso, (born November 8, 1965) is an American former professional ice hockey player. Peluso was known primarily as an enforcer throughout his National Hockey League (NHL) career. Peluso played in the NHL from 1990 until 1998. He is currently a scout for the Edmonton Oilers, operating out of Minnesota.
Mike Peluso, then known as a slick defenseman, was drafted in 1985 by the New Jersey Devils but was never signed, opting to instead secure his education by playing with the University of Alaska Anchorage until 1989. The Chicago Blackhawks signed him as a free agent in 1989, and he started his National Hockey League career with the Blackhawks in 1990. When he joined the Hawks he was switched to forward and was encouraged to fight if he wanted to stay in the lineup. His first fight came in his first game against the Minnesota North Stars when he fought Basil McRae. He would record 728 penalty minutes in his first two seasons.
Peluso is among 4 players in NHL history, and the most recent, to accumulate over 400 penalty minutes in a season. He did so with 408 PIM in 63 games played with the Blackhawks during the 1991–92 NHL season.
He would spend parts of three years in Chicago before going to the new Ottawa Senators as the 21st pick in the 1992 NHL Expansion Draft. In one successful season in Ottawa he set the club record for penalty minutes (318), but was allowed to play a more offensive role, scoring 15 goals along with 10 assists and becoming perhaps the team's most popular player. On June 26, 1993, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils to complete an earlier transaction that sent Craig Billington, Troy Mallette and New Jersey's 4th round choice (Cosmo Dupaul) in 1993 Entry Draft to Ottawa. In New Jersey, he would win a Stanley Cup in 1995.
As in Ottawa, Peluso became somewhat of a cult hero in New Jersey where his gritty, hard-nosed style won the fans' appreciation. Peluso played with emotion and was known to be an intimidating figure both on and off the ice. He was an integral part of the infamous "Crash Line" with Randy McKay and Bobby Holík, a fourth-line combination that provided energy and timely goal-scoring during the Devils' 1995 Stanley Cup run.
Perhaps the most lasting image though of Peluso's playing career was the sight of him unable to leave the bench during the Stanley Cup clinching game for the Devils in 1995 because he was overcome with emotion that he was about to have his name etched on hockey's holy grail forever. The irony of seeing one of the NHL's toughest crying on the bench is an image that will endure through the annals of hockey history.