It's been a long time, too long, since Ziggy Palffy was seen in the flesh wearing an Islanders uniform. And he hasn't been in the NHL since 2005-06, when he left the NHL abruptly reportedly due to family reasons. So his retirement from hockey seven years later might feel like something of a footnote.
But he was simply, in a word, outstanding. And it occurs to us that some of our youngest readers may not grasp how good he was as an Islander, and what he meant for the team during what, in retrospect, was the beginning of otherwise dark times. (Indeed, those times turned darker when he left under forced circumstances with incompetent owners.)
But in a burst from 1995 to 1997-98, in 276 games for the Islanders he scored 146 goals. And he was practically all the Islanders had at that time.
A few readers have shared memories in comments of the morning bits post, and we'll be doing a more proper salute for his Islanders exploits in the next couple of posts. But we wanted to provide a chance for you to weigh in here.
Further, I wanted to remember how great Palffy was even through his final seasons as a player. How many of us saw him play for Slovakia at the 2010 Olympics and gasped, "Holy Bossy, Ziggy's still got it!"
I would bet Lubomir Visnovsky did. He was the tap-in beneficiary of Palffy's (#24) magic on this goal:
Despite the presence of many younger teammates, Palffy had three assists in seven games of the 2010 Olympic tourney, where he showed his hands and the old Palffy exuberance were still there.
Last season, which turned out to be his last, he was still the Slovak league's best player with 83 points in 48 games. Those of us in the West really did miss out not seeing him for the back half of his career.
Again, we'll delve into his Islanders career in a few more posts, but we wanted to let you share first -- particularly if our Slovakian readers want to weigh in with how he's been over the last several years.