For today’s Throwback Thursday feature, I spoke with Dainius Zubrus, who offered not one story, but two stories detailing his favorite moments being a part of the New Jersey Devils organization. But before he began his tale, I asked him what it meant to contribute to and witness the history being made amongst the legendary players that have come through the Devils locker room.
“It’s fun,” Zubrus said of witnessing and being a part of these legendary moments. “It’s definitely something that right now, you don’t think that much about it. They are teammates. They are special guys. You crack a joke. You have fun with them. I think all those things are going to sink in some years from now when you are going to sit [back and remember] these guys, Jags and Marty.
“I played with some good players. They’re special people. There’s a reason why they’re [what they are] now at that age. Never mind the talent, but the work they put in and the way they do it in the practice.
“You guys see basically only the ice part, but there’s so much more to it, not just the game you come in and play, run around on the ice for a couple of hours and that’s it. It’s not that. They put so much work into it. That’s why they are where they are. Obviously talent and they’re good people. They put a lot of work into it. You see that, you want to learn from that. You want to do the same stuff.”
“There’s a couple I guess,” he said of his favorite moments of being a Devil. “Obviously the playoff run was special. There’s a Game Seven…”
Jagr’s ears must have been burning.
“Let’s go!” Jagr says as he runs up to Zubrus. “They’re all waiting for you.”
Zubrus has a blank look on his face. “I don’t know, man.”
He looks back to me and shrugs. It ends up, Zubrus is running late, but instead of leaving the story hanging, he decides to continue with his contribution to Throwback Thursday.
“Game Seven in Florida, of course the Rangers, playing at home…the fans and media…it was such a huge buildup we had. We kind of tried to block away from that and just play hockey, but we realized how important it is to keep winning.
“It’s now my seventh year here. We lost to the Rangers once, maybe twice in the playoffs…it was nice to win. Of course, that win gave us a chance to go to the Finals. That was a special moment for sure. Obviously, losing a couple of games and being two wins away from the Stanley Cup wasn’t fun, but that moment was fun. It’s probably one of the better ones for sure.”
There was one more moment he wanted to share that was one of his favorite memories as a Devil. It wasn’t about him. It was all about one of the most historical moments in his teammate’s own personal story.
“Of course, I’ll never forget Marty cutting the net with the scissors and all that stuff,” he said of Brodeur’s 552nd win. “Just watching. It was a home game. I think it was Chicago, if I’m not mistaken. It was a big win and he played great. It was just watching that and watching history in the making. That was cool.”
[Note: In the video, see if you can spot Brendan Shanahan’s theft. It was one of the funnier moments of the evening, especially afterward in the locker room when Brodeur found out that Shanny was planning on selling the catching glove on Ebay.]