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Žigmund "Ziggy" Pálffy (born May 5, 1972) is a Slovakmarker professional ice hockey player currently playing for HK 36 Skalica of the Slovak Extraliga.

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 hometown club of HK 36 Skalica for the entire 2007-08 season, and also retracted his decision from 2005 never to play for the Slovak national team again.

Playing career

After a solid season in his native Czechoslovakiamarker and an impressive stint with the Czechoslovakian National Team in the 1991 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship Pálffy was drafted by New York Islanders in the second round of the 1991 NHL Draft, 26th overall. After 2 more years in Czechoslovakia Palffy 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 5 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 1 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. He also kissed teammate Travis Green on the mouth after scoring a goal. 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 1st round draft pick go to the Islanders. He was greatly missed by the team fans, who saw him as the one shining star of their perpetually turmoiled organization.

With the Kings, Pálffy continued his strong play, often being paired with fellow Slovak Jozef Stümpel and Canadianmarker 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 decided not to re-sign Pálffy. 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 GM Craig Patrick told reporters that Pálffy told him he was retiring due to a lingering shoulder injury. Many feel that tension with superstar Sidney Crosby may have also contributed to his retirement. Pálffy completed his career with 329 goals and 384 assists for 713 points in 684 games over 12 NHL seasons.

Pálffy has represented Slovakiamarker and Czechoslovakiamarker in international competitions, winning the Gold Medal with Slovakia in the 2002 World Championships after he had prepared the tournament-winning goal 100 seconds to go in third period for Peter Bondra. 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 2007-08 in the Slovak Extraliga, gathering 75 points in just 49 games. He also retracted his decision never to play for the Slovak national team again, opening up the possibility for him to represent Slovakia at the World Championships tournament to be held in Canada in May 2008.

Awards



Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1990–91 Nitra CS 50 34 16 50 18
1991–92 Dukla Trenčín CS 32 23 24 47 13 18 8 26
1992–93 Dukla Trenčín CS 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
NHL totals 684 329 384 713 322 24 9 10 19 8


International play

Played for Czechoslovakia in:



Played for Slovakia in:



International statistics

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 OG 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 OG 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
Junior int'l totals 13 10 7 17 8
Senior CSFR int'l totals 5 1 0 1 2
Senior SVK int'l totals 42 24 32 56 56


See also



External links




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