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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feb 14--Walt Poddubny

Walt Poddubny

Walt Poddubny hockey player photo

Selected by Edmonton Oilers round 5 #90 overall 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

Poddubny reported to the Oilers camp and put in a solid performance. But the club's all-star lineup was too hard to crack, so he was dispatched to the minors in Wichita where he spent most of the next two seasons, biding his unhappy time.
The Leafs picked him up in exchange for Laurie Boschman in 1982. Poddubny's first full season with the Leafs was quite productive. He nailed down 59 points in 72 games. But then once he was established, criticisms began to surface that he was a floater, guilty of inconsistent play. Then the injury bug struck, forcing him to miss many games during the seasons that followed. By 1985-86, Poddubny's knees were wobbly as he was sent to St. Catharines of the AHL to work things out. He balked at the idea and was then traded to the New York Rangers.
The Rangers made the right move. Poddubny was reborn as a goal scorer. He hit the ice and promptly potted a career-high 40 goals and 47 assists in 75 games. His numbers were similar the following year. In 1988-89, Poddubny was traded to the Nordiques where he continued to put up impressive numbers. But after only one season, he was traded to his final NHL stop, the New Jersey Devils.
In Jersey, Poddubny's knees finally succumbed to the duress of NHL play. His games played and offensive numbers fell off dramatically, leading to his retirement in 1991. He sat on the sidelines for two years and then attempted a comeback with the Worcester Ice Cats of the AHL. He lasted only 34 games and then quit for good.
It turns out Poddubny's story after the NHL is quite sad. He tried to stay in the game, partly for financial reasons but mostly because he could never deal with the game being taken away from him. But after mixed results coaching in the low minor leagues, he returned home to Thunder Bay and has been living in his sister's basement. He lost his marriage and found friendship in the form of the bottle.
His story is probably not completely uncommon, especially amongst the many players who are forgotten about not long after they have left the ice if not earlier. (d 3/21/09)

1981-1991EDM, TOR, NYR, QUE, NJ468184238422454
1983-1987Toronto, N.Y. Rangers1972912


Received these black sharpie signed cards IP at NHL SloPitch tourney.

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