The Afternoon Shift – Feb. 14

Jim Paek

What were you doing 20 years ago? If you are one of the seven or eight youngest Griffins players, you were still crawling around in diapers. If you are defenseman Doug Janik, you were tearing up Massachusetts’ rinks as a 10-year-old. But if you are assistant coach Jim Paek, you were unwittingly preparing to take the ride of your life.

After spending his first three pro seasons just up the road from Grand Rapids with the IHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks, Paek played three games with the Pittsburgh Penguins early in the 1990-91 campaign before being dispatched to the Canadian National Team for more playing time and seasoning.

The blueliner returned to the big club during the playoffs and merely scored his first NHL goal during the Penguins’ Stanley Cup-clinching win in Game 6 of the finals — on an assist from Mario Lemieux, no less. Paek’s contributions to Pittsburgh’s first Stanley Cup champion were chronicled yesterday in a profile in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Paek, whose six seasons of service to the Griffins make him the longest-tenured coach in franchise history, went on to log 49 regular season games and 19 playoff contests the next season and help the Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup champions, a feat only one other NHL team, the Detroit Red Wings of 1996-97 and 1997-98, has accomplished since.

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL/opponent links:

Alumni news and notes:

Video – NHL alumni goal:

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