I had kind of hit a dry spell for hockey blogs in the last few weeks. I do not know why, but I found it very difficult to write about the game and especially my favorite team, The Pittsburgh Penguins. There is not any real reason for that I guess, except that everything I could possibly want to write about is the same that everyone else would be writing about.
So I posted a an open question in the great Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/PENSBURGH/ . I asked if anyone had any ideas or anything in particular they would want me to Rant about. I had a few suggestions but the one that seemed to resonate the most with me was posted by the group creator and admin Lauren McDowell. She suggested blogging about “Where are they now? Former Pens Players.”
So I have chosen 4 players that I will write about. I will post a little about their career and round it out with anything outside of the career to give you an idea of what they have accomplished once their career was over. Get it? Got It? Good!
#1 – Peter Taglianetti
AS A PEN – Taglianetti was a tough a nails, stay at home defensive defenseman who helped to solidify the Penguins defensive corps by adding some much needed grit and discipline to the blue line. He was never much of an offensive threat but knew how to do the little things on the ice to help his team win.
NOW?!?!?! – He was one of the several professional athletes who participated in the Yokozuna Bodyslam Challenge onboard the USS Intrepid on July 4, 1993. He tried to lift the 568 lb. Yokozuna, but could not get him off of the ground. Look at those pipes on Tags tho!
He retired from the NHL in 1996 and opened up a couple of fitness training centers in Pittsburgh. He also worked as a vice-president in a Pittsburgh based office products company. He is the father of Pittsburgh Panther football player Andrew Taglianetti.
#2 – Jim Paek
AS A PEN – The first Korean born player to ever make the NHL, Paek only played 5 NHL seasons with the Penguins, Kings and Senators but won 2 Stanley Cups with the Penguins. He was not someone that stood out on the score sheet as he tallied 5 goals and 29 assists in 217 games in his career.
NOW?!?!?! – After leaving the NHL he played in the IHL and overseas with various teams in the IHL, the West Coast Hockey League and also played overseas in the British Ice Hockey Superleague. He became a coach after he retired and is currently a coach within the Detroit Red Wings organization as an assistant coach with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.
#3 – Wendell Young
AS A PEN – Never a goaltender who would set the world on fire with his statistics, Wendell Young has a the distinction to have been born 2 hours from where I live. Yes, Wendell is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was an average goalie on an average team during his 4 year tenure as a Penguins who had a goals against average of 4.23. Considering Fleury’s average is under 2.50 for this season, you can see he was not a game changer.
NOW?!?!?!? – After her retired from the being a hockey player, he moved into a General Manager position with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. He is the only player in history to have won a Memorial Cup (1982 Kitchener Rangers), a Calder Cup (1988 Hershey Bears), a Turner Cup (1998 and 2000 Chicago Wolves), and a Stanley Cup (1991 and 1992 Penguins).
#4 – Aleksey Morozov
AS A PEN – Perhaps one of the most talented players to ever suit up in a Penguins jersey, Aleksey Morozo never saw that talent translate into NHL success. He did have one 20 goal campaign and 2 seasons of 45 points or more in 6 NHL seasons and showed flashes of brilliance, such as the final 15 games of the 2003-2004 season in which he tallied 30 points in 15 games.
NOW?!?!?!?! – After leaving the Penguins and the NHL behind at the end of the 2004 season, Morozov became a member of the Ak Bars Kazan team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. He has become one of the best player’s in the world outside of the NHL and put up an amazing 32 goals, 39 assists for 72 points in only 49 games in the 2008-2009 season. He has won silver in the 1998 Nagano Olympics, 2 Gold and a Bronze at the World Hockey Championships and back to back Gagarin Cups in the KHL.
So they we go. The stories of 4 former Penguins who may not all be remembered for their time in a Penguins jersey but have had some form of impact on the team while they were there.
I really had fun writing this and want to thank Lauren once again for the great idea. I may pull this topic out every so often and add 4 more players to the format. It was fun to look back at some of the names of players I remember from my childhood and to be honest, see what they were up to now. The only one I had an idea about was Morozov, so I guess I learned from this too.