Žigmund Pálffy

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Žigmund Pálffy
ZPalffy.png
Born (1972-05-05) May 5, 1972 (age 42)
Skalica, Czechoslovakia
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Left
National team  Czechoslovakia 
 Slovakia
NHL Draft 26th overall, 1991
New York Islanders
Playing career 1990–2013

Žigmund "Ziggy" Pálffy (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈʒɪɡmunt ˈpaːlfɪ]; born May 5, 1972) is a retired Slovak[1] professional ice hockey player.

He played right wing for the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins between 1993–2006. He announced his retirement in January 2006, and his comeback from retirement in the summer of 2007. Pálffy signed a contract to play for his boyhood club HK 36 Skalica in the 2007-08 season and continued to do so until the end of his career. He also retracted his decision from 2005 never to play for the Slovak national team again by participating at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In July 2013 he announced his definite retirement.

Playing career[edit]

After a solid season in his native Czechoslovakia and an impressive stint with the Czechoslovakian national team in the 1991 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Pálffy was drafted by the New York Islanders in the second round of the 1991 NHL Draft, 26th overall. After two more years in Czechoslovakia, Pálffy came to North America for the 1993-94 season. He spent the majority of the 1993–94 season with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles, while also making his NHL debut with the Islanders, appearing in five games, though he did not earn a single point. The following season, he split the year between the Islanders and the Denver Grizzlies.

The 1995–96 NHL season saw Pálffy break out as an offensive scorer. In his first game of 1995–96, his team went down one goal but Pálffy would score two goals to lead New York to a 2–1 win over the Florida Panthers. He also scored 87 points in 81 games and quickly became the star of the Islanders franchise. The following two seasons were much the same for Pálffy, scoring 90 and 87 points, respectively. During the 1998–99 season, Pálffy was limited to only 50 games but still played solidly, scoring 50 points. After the season, the Islanders, facing financial woes, traded him and Bryan Smolinski to the Los Angeles Kings in a deal that saw Olli Jokinen, Josh Green, Mathieu Biron, and a first round draft pick go to the Islanders. He was greatly missed by the team's fans, who at that time saw him as the shining star of their turmoiled organization.

With the Kings, Pálffy continued his strong play, often being paired with fellow Slovak Jozef Stümpel and Canadian superstar Luc Robitaille. Injuries, specifically his shoulder, began to limit Pálffy's playing time. During the 2003–04 season, Pálffy's nagging shoulder kept him out of action for the majority of the season. After the 2003–04 season, the Kings tried to resign Pálffy, but when Pálffy had a phone call with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and gave him his word that he would sign with the Penguins, that ended all negotiations with the Kings. Shortly after the 2004–05 NHL lockout, he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three years and $13.5 million (USD).

After playing 42 games with the Penguins during the 2005–06 season, Palffy abruptly retired from hockey. On January 18, 2006, then-Penguins general manager Craig Patrick told reporters that Pálffy told him he was retiring due to a lingering shoulder injury. Pálffy completed his career with 329 goals and 384 assists for 713 points in 684 games over 12 NHL seasons.

Pálffy has represented Slovakia and Czechoslovakia in international competitions, winning a gold medal with Slovakia in the 2002 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships after he had assisted on Peter Bondra's tournament-winning goal 100 seconds to go in the third period. Following the 2005 World Championships in Austria, Pálffy announced his retirement from the Slovak national team.

Pálffy announced his comeback from retirement in the summer of 2007, and signed a contract to play for his hometown club of HK 36 Skalica for the entire 2007–08 season. He became the most productive player of the regular season in the Slovak Extraliga, gathering 75 points in just 46 games. He also retracted his decision never to play for the Slovak national team again.

Pálffy was named to Slovakia’s 2010 Olympic roster in Vancouver and recorded three assists with the team for a total of three points in seven games.

In July 2013, before the start of the 2013-2014 season, Pálffy announced that it was time to end his long career. He said he was old enough, didn't feel like playing and traveling with the team after so many years, but also that he was going to miss the game of hockey since he lived for it for almost 40 years.[2]

Awards[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1990–91 Nitra TCH 50 34 16 50 18
1991–92 Dukla Trenčín TCH 32 23 24 47 13 18 8 26
1992–93 Dukla Trenčín TCH 43 38 41 79 0
1993–94 Salt Lake Golden Eagles IHL 57 25 32 57 83
1993–94 New York Islanders NHL 5 0 0 0 0
1994–95 Denver Grizzlies IHL 33 20 23 43 40
1994–95 New York Islanders NHL 33 10 7 17 6
1995–96 New York Islanders NHL 81 43 44 87 56
1996–97 Dukla Trenčín SVK 1 0 0 0 0
1996–97 New York Islanders NHL 80 48 42 90 43
1997–98 New York Islanders NHL 82 45 42 87 34
1998–99 HK 36 Skalica SVK 9 11 8 19 9
1998–99 New York Islanders NHL 50 22 28 50 34
1999–00 Los Angeles Kings NHL 64 27 39 66 32 4 2 0 2 0
2000–01 Los Angeles Kings NHL 73 38 51 89 20 13 3 5 8 8
2001–02 Los Angeles Kings NHL 63 32 27 59 26 7 4 5 9 0
2002–03 Los Angeles Kings NHL 76 37 48 85 47
2003–04 Los Angeles Kings NHL 35 16 25 41 12
2004–05 HK 36 Skalica SVK 8 10 3 13 6
2004–05 HC Slavia Praha CZE 41 21 19 40 30 7 5 2 7 2
2005–06 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 42 11 31 42 12
2007–08 HK 36 Skalica SVK 46 30 45 75 93 13 7 17 24 26
2008–09 HK 36 Skalica SVK 53 52 47 99 46 17 12 15 27 12
2009–10 HK 36 Skalica SVK 36 17 36 53 28 6 6 6 12 18
2011–12 HK 36 Skalica SVK 48 26 57 83 76 6 3 4 7 6
2012–13 HK 36 Skalica SVK 39 26 47 73 103 7 3 5 8 2
Czechoslovak Extraliga totals 125 95 81 176 18 13 18 8 26
IHL totals 90 45 55 100 123
Slovak Extraliga totals 240 172 243 415 361 49 31 47 78 64
Czech Extraliga totals 41 21 19 40 30 7 5 2 7 2
NHL totals 684 329 384 713 322 24 9 10 19 8

International play[edit]

Žigmund Pálffy
ZigmundPalffy02172010.jpg
Palffy at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Medal record
Competitor for  Czechoslovakia
Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze 1991 Saskatoon Ice hockey
Competitor for  Slovakia
World Championships
Gold 2002 Jönköping, Ice hockey
Bronze 2003 Helsinki Ice hockey

Played for Czechoslovakia in:

Played for Slovakia in:

International statistics[edit]

Year Team Comp GP G A Pts PIM
1991 Czechoslovakia WJC 7 7 6 13 2
1991 Czechoslovakia CC 5 1 0 1 2
1992 Czechoslovakia WJC 6 3 1 4 6
1994 Slovakia OLY 8 3 7 10 8
1996 Slovakia WC 5 2 0 2 10
1996 Slovakia WCH 3 1 2 3 2
1999 Slovakia WC 6 5 5 10 6
2002 Slovakia OLY 1 0 0 0 0
2002 Slovakia WC 3 1 6 7 2
2003 Slovakia WC 9 7 8 15 18
2005 Slovakia WC 7 5 4 9 10
2010 Slovakia OLY 7 0 3 3 8
Junior int'l totals 13 10 7 17 8
Senior CSFR int'l totals 5 1 0 1 2
Senior SVK int'l totals 49 24 35 59 64

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Walter Marx
Flagbearer for  Slovakia
Vancouver 2010
Succeeded by
Zdeno Chára