Sunday, December 16, 2007

Peter Taglianetti

Peter Taglianetti's claim to fame is peanut butter.

Taglianetti was a big, strong, physical defenseman out of Framingham, Massachusetts. In 1983 the Winnipeg Jets drafted him 43rd overall out of Providence College. Taglianetti could be tagged as a bit of a late bloomer, as he was passed over by every team in every round of the previous two NHL drafts. As such, Taglianetti worked hard on his studies, majoring in business management before taking a chance on a career in pro hockey.

Taglianetti was a lanky defenseman when he entered college, but he filled out and learned how to use his size advantage by the time the Jets finally drafted him. He set a record for penalty minutes at Providence College that still stands. He succeeded in and enjoyed the contact battles and aggressive hitting, which was an ingredient the Jets were definitely missing back in the mid-1980s. That allowed Taglianetti to develop strictly as a throw back defenseman, which was a good thing because by NHL standards he was not overly mobile or offensively gifted.

After short stints in Winnipeg and Minnesota, "Tag" found a home in Pittsburgh just in time to be a part of back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. The team lost him to Tampa Bay in the 1992 expansion draft, but reacquired him late in the next season. He also briefly played for Boston, but he is best known as a Pittsburgh Penguin depth defender.

That, and peanut butter.

As the Pens chased after their first Stanley Cup championship in 1991, Taglianetti was felled by an ankle injury in the opening round against New Jersey. It was diagnosed as "lace bite," which resulted in a deep bruise on the front of his ankle where he flexed his foot and tied the lace.

The injury didn't affect his play once he got his skate on, but getting the skate on was the problem. He could not tie his skates without suffering sever discomfort, until trainer Skip Thayer came up with an odd idea. Thayer had heard Chicago's Al Secord solved a similar problem by filling a Ziploc baggy with peanut butter. After Vaseline and other products wouldn't suffice, Thayer tucked the baggy underneath the skate flap. Taglianetti could then tie his skates and play without pain.

Interestingly, Jif and local supermarket chain Shop 'n Save tried to cash in on the story by sending Taglianetti cases of peanut butter. Taglianetti jokes that his kids quickly grew tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, because he used all the free peanut butter to feed his children.

Another odd ball story comes from Taglianetti's charitable endeavors, which he was very actively involved in. He wasn't the type of athlete who would show up to just charity golf scrambles. Which perhaps explains why on July 4th, 1993 he participated in the World Wrestling Federation's Yokozuna Bodyslam Challenge event. Climbing aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York City's harbor, Taglianetti was unsuccessful in his attempt to body slam pro wrestler Yokozuna in an event that raised $20,000 for charity.

Taglianetti retired from hockey 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.

No comments:

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP