December 10, 2015

Jim Pavese

In 1987-88 Jim Pavese suffered through one of the toughest seasons any hockey player has had to go through.

Pavese was a depth defenseman with parts of five seasons on the St. Louis Blues back end, with 259 career games under his belt. But four games into the season, he found himself traded to the New York Rangers.

That was just the beginning of a whirlwind tour of hockey rinks and hospitals. You would not blame Pavese if he woke up in the morning and had no idea what city he was in.

Pavese four games for the Blues, then just fourteen games for the Rangers. He was hospitalized with a virus, suffered stomach and groin pulls. To recover he played minor league games with Denver and New Haven before ending the season traded to the Detroit Red Wings.

That was a total of 27 games spread over five teams and three leagues - all in the same season! It sounds like he spent a lot more time in doctor's offices though!

Not that his weird season was over. The hard-luck Pavese suffered an elbow infection that hospitalized him and forced him out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Pavese had played four games with the Wings that spring.

After a season like that you almost would not blames a guy if he packed his bags and went home. But Pavese returned for another hard-luck season in 1988-89, dressing for 39 games with the Wings before being traded to Hartford late in the season.

Pavese did walk away from the game in 1989-90, opting not to play. But he did make a comeback in 1990-91 with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL for one final season.

Though he played primarily with the St. Louis Blues, a real highlight of his career was achieving his childhood dream of playing for the Rangers, even if it was only for 14 games. Pavese, the son of a New York homicide investigator, grew up dreaming of playing for his hometown Blueshirts.

Pavese was never a flashy player, offering little offense thanks to his average-at-best skating. Due to his lack of agility he learned to effectively work the angles to keep attackers to the outside. Physically he had good size and was not afraid to mix it up.

Pavese returned to New York after hanging up the skates. He found work with a medical supplies company. After all, his many hockey visits to the doctor's office probably made him a bit of an expert in the area!

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