Zigmund Palffy was a character (and probably still is. He's alive and well, but retired, finally.). He arrived on these shores knowing barely any English. He had a mullet and a lethal shot and mesmerizing hands. He made longtime New York hockey scribe Stan Fischler do silly things:
His quote about how he reached the decision to retire at age 41, even after leading the Slovak league in points last season yet again, seems a fitting reflection of the personality fans and media saw:
"One morning is more beautiful than the previous one, and you have other opinions. At this point, I believe that I quit. Definitive. Already I do not want to travel anywhere. Did it enough."
That is the "I have a fulfilling life" version of dropping the mic.
Here is how a former teammate, a couple of NHL beatwriters, the former Isles PR lead, and some fans from his other NHL team reacted upon hearing of his retirement from hockey:
Told you the dude was loved.
Ziggy Palffy retiring, one of my favorite players to cover in first yrs on Isles beat. He practiced English by quoting Chris Farley movies.— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) August 1, 2013
"You know, a lot of people go to college for seven years."
Happy retirement to Ziggy Palffy, who learned English from John Candy movies and once said, "This bleeping backchecking is killing me."— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) August 1, 2013
So he liked heavy comedians, is what we're getting at here.
Ziggy Palffy retires. Still remember 1994 interview I did with him as Denver Grizzly. Only English word he knew was f -bomb— adater (@adater) August 1, 2013
(Yes, it's true. Palffy hailed from a time before there was an Avalanche. And the Isles' minor league affiliate was in Denver. In a league called the IHL. Which was a good league. Butch Goring was the champion coach.)
I see Palffy as an Islander who was ripped from us in a symbol of everything wrong with the franchise's '90s ownership turmoil. But we must acknowledge that he didn't stop wowing fans even after he left the Island:
Ziggy Palffy is one of my all-time favorite former #LAKings. I wish him all the best in life post-hockey!— Kings of Hockeywood (@HockeywoodKings) August 1, 2013
- Love You Ziggy, Miss You Ziggy, Enjoy Retirement (Surly and Scribe, Kings blog)
- LAKingsInsider (see comments for Kings fan appreciation)
The Royal Half collects much more, including a Palffy hat trick (for the Kings) against the Smurfs.
Palffy's NHL career was bookended almost entirely by the first two lockouts, when he was a household name:
Palffy had only two seasons where he did not score greater than or equal to a point per game: his rookie yr (94-95) and 2001-2002— Matt Cefalu (@TCL_Cefalu), Hawks writer, August 1, 2013
Yes, we're kind of beating our regular readers over the head with Palffy retirement coverage today, but with good reason: The man was an amazing hockey player and a true Islanders star. We can't let that be forgotten just because his Isles tenure ended too soon, his NHL exposure ended after Lockout II, and his exploits occurred mostly before the Internet's viral video age.