Author’s Note: As part of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ 15th anniversary season, the team has announced that it will induct two players into its first Hall of Fame class. The players chosen will be determined by a fan vote, as well as input from front office staff and local media. Twenty-three players are up for election, and in this series, we will profile four players at a time for five articles, with the final three players being covered in the last article.
We have reached the final part of our series covering candidates for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Hall of Fame. The three players who will be featured here did not play with the team past 2003. One even played his only stint in North America as a member of the Penguins.
This may be the last week to vote for the player of your choice to be inducted, but if you still need help making a selection, check out the other five articles here:
Robbie Tallas, Goaltender (2001-2003)
Tallas was a dependable backup netminder who played at least 30 games in both of his seasons in Wilkes-Barre. He struggled in 2001-02 as the Pens failed to make the postseason, earning a 6-25-5 record with a .901 save percentage and 3.46 GAA. He was able to reach a winning mark next year and went 14-11-3, but his numbers were still mediocre, as he had a .898 save percentage and 3.37 GAA.
He then went overseas to play in Finland in 2003, but suffered a heart attack on that New Year’s Eve. It was believed to be a result of the painkiller Vioxx, which was pulled from the shelves in 2004 after other patients suffered heart attacks and strokes. Tallas’ problems were caused by a blood clot that sent him into cardiac arrest.
He made a return to pro hockey in 2004 in Austria, but retired after that season.
Tallas is currently the goaltending coach with the Florida Panthers and is also a hockey instructor at the team’s practice facility.
Mike Wilson, Defenseman (2001-2003)
Wilson was never known for his offense, but for his physical game. He had 59 penalty minutes in the 2001-02 season to go with 12 points, and in 2002-03, he added nine points and 89 penalty minutes. However, he was traded to the New York Rangers late in the 2003 season and finished the year with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
After playing with the Springfield Falcons in 2003-04, Wilson spent the 2005-06 campaign in Austria. He had several extended breaks from hockey, as he didn’t play in 2004-05 or from 2006 through 2008. Although he came back to North America in 2008, he had only three very brief stints in the ECHL before retiring in 2010.
He is currently the owner and a coach at the Ohio Hockey Academy in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, which runs youth hockey camps and has competitive teams at different skill levels. The training focuses on hockey skills, leadership and teamwork.
Alexander Zevakhin, Left Wing (2000-2002)
In 2001, Zevakhin had 25 points in 77 games before adding six points as the Penguins went to the Calder Cup Finals. He followed that up with 23 points in 74 games in the 2001-02 season.
He started the 2002-03 campaign in Wilkes-Barre, but headed back to Russia after scoring just six points in 13 games. However, he had his first career hat trick while he was a Penguin, accomplishing the feat against the Syracuse Crunch.
Zevakhin was never able to find his footing in North America, and he stayed in Russia for the remainder of his career. Some of the teams he played for included CSKA Moscow and St. Petersburg and Cherepovets Severstal, both of which are members of the KHL.
There was no information available on what Zevakhin has been doing since he retired following the 2010-11 season.
Alison is currently covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL for The Hockey Writers after writing about the NHL’s New Jersey Devils from 2011-2012. She is currently employed for the fast growing sports website Bleacher Report as a quality editor and hopes to one day have a media relations career with a professional hockey team. Follow her on Twitter @AlisonM_110.