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Welcome to The Real DFG's Pittsburgh Penguin Autograph Project. My goal is to eventually try and get at least one autograph of every player to lace up the skates in an NHL game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. It could have been for one game or 700 games, I will add them. Occasionally I may post cards of former players in their new team uniforms. While the goal is to get autos in Pens uni's, it isn't always possible. Since the team has been in existence since 1967, the list is pretty large. Last I checked, it was somewhere in the range of 624 different players. Currently, I sit at about 100 autographs (with some duplication). Enjoy the posts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Martin Straka

Marty Straka was always one of those guys that I enjoyed watching play in Pittsburgh. This auto comes from the 1999-00 Be A Player Millenium Signature Series set. It is a tough auto to read since the foil was in full force back in the late 90s/early 00s. If you ask me, it looks like the signature of Century Flele, whoever that is.

When Straka was drafted 19th overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, there was a good buzz around how he would fit in with an already stacked Pens lineup. But lack of production early on sent him packing to Ottawa...then to the Islanders...then Florida. By 1997-98 and four teams later, he was back in Pittsburgh.

In 2000-01, he had a career year with 95 points and was considered one of the best two-way players. His speed and vision on the ice was matched by almost no one. But that quickly came to an end when a broken leg took him out of the lineup in 2001-02 and basically destroyed his career from that point forward. The Pens lost patience with his recovery speed and wondered if he would ever return to form. They sent him to the Kings for a couple of scrub players that never amounted to much (Sergei Anshakov who never suited up in an NHL jersey and Martin Strbak who put up 3 goals in 44 games in 2003-04 for the Pens but was a minus-11).  After that, he bounced from team to team for a few years before returning to the Czech Republic to play in his home country. 

If it wasn't for the broken leg....???

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