Too young to remember him playing and scoring for the Rangers. I guess I was 9 or 10 and at the time, I was a bigger baseball fan. I do have a fond memory though. It was one of my first hockey games. Before the end of the pregame warm up, Walt Poddubny skated over to the Rangers fans standing right behind the glass at the Coliseum. He was about to flip the puck over the boards and many fans were there ready to catch it. He caught site of me and could obviously see how young I was. So he pointed directly at me to basically tell the other fans he wanted to give me the puck. And that's what happend. He flipped it over the boards, skated away, and I got a puck.
Thank you for that memory Walt Poddubny. I'll never forget it and may you always R.I.P.
Poddubny strides around the rink with a long, loping gait that's deceptively quick. He's a 6'1", 205-pounder who shoots without a windup, snapping off shots with the strength of his wrists and forearms. The puck flies off the ice so fast that goalies often react more out of fear than skill. "Walt's a big, big man with a heavy, heavy shot," says Ranger left wing Don Maloney. "I don't know if he got it milking cows as a kid or what."
Poddubny's hesitant smile and placid demeanor conceal his Stoogemania. "I never need an alarm clock when Walt's my roommate," says Jan Erixon, another leftwinger on the Rangers. "He wakes me up with the Tre Idioter every morning."
Poddubny's lantern jaw and jutting features have led some teammates to call him Sarge, after pro wrestler Sgt. Slaughter. Others just call him enigmatic. "The guy sits in his stall and doesn't say much," says Ranger center Pierre Larouche. "He's a pretty weird dude."
When Esposito became New York's general manager after the 1985-86 season, a top priority was to beef up his team's anemic attack. One of his first moves was to trade for Poddubny. But some Rangers thought Poddubny might be a dud. "When we got him, the question was not how he'd do as much as whether he'd even make the team," says Maloney.
But Esposito, who was traded from Chicago to Boston before becoming an NHL star, says, "Sometimes you've got to change teams before getting a chance to show what you can really do."
Poddubny was moved from left wing to center, a position he had not played since leaving Wichita. "I thought if Walt played in the middle, he could be more creative," says Espo. "I hoped he would be more productive offensively with a little more room to roam." In Poddubny's first 11 games he had six goals and 14 assists, and showed an array of behind-the-back and between-the-legs passes that most of his teammates would not even attempt. "Some guys are sluggers and muggers," says Maloney. "Walt is an artist."