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|Zubrus set for reunion with ex-Devils' mates
11 марта 2016 года. GULITTI, TOM. The Record
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- When former Devils coach Pete DeBoer asked Dainius Zubrus to come join him in San Jose, he wanted him for his size and strength, his character and leadership, and his work ethic.
He had no interest in Zubrus' taste in music, though.
During his eight seasons with the Devils, Zubrus became the locker room disc jockey, but some of the songs in the eclectic collection on his iPod weren't popular with everyone.
"We haven't let him touch the music here, yet, like he did in Jersey," DeBoer said before his Sharks faced the Devils on Thursday night at SAP Center. "Thank God."
DeBoer is happy to have Zubrus onboard otherwise, though.
"His biggest benefit has been the role model he's provided to our depth players," DeBoer said of the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Lithuanian. "We needed a guy in the bottom six of our lineup, a veteran guy, that showed those guys how to work every day -- the extra stuff they have to do after practice, the extra stuff in the weight room. ... So, for me, his most value has been showing our depth players how to prepare, how to work, what they have to do in order to survive in this league and carve out a career."
Zubrus has had a long one. He's played in 1,280 NHL regular-season games with six teams, but admitted Thursday night's game against the Devils would be "special" and "different."
"That's where I was for the last eight years and there's quite a few players that I know pretty well," he said.
Zubrus, 37, was surprised when the Devils decided to buy out the final season on his contract last July 30. He thought maybe something would happen during the NHL's initial buyout window last summer, but, after that closed June 30, he figured that meant he was staying in New Jersey.
The Devils received a second buyout window, however, after settling their final arbitration case by agreeing to a six-year, $25 million contract with Adam Larsson on July 25. Devils general manager Ray Shero decided to use that window to buy out Zubrus, creating roster flexibility.
"[Shero] never told me I was going anywhere," Zubrus said. "He kind of asked me what I wanted to do and I was getting ready for the season. It was towards the end of July, so I was in my training mode and I was looking forward to a new season. So, at the time, it was a bit of a shock."
Zubrus said he has no bad feelings over it, though.
"I was eight years in Jersey, good years," Zubrus said. "There's a lot of good people there I still talk to in the organization. I understand it's business. I wish the timing was a little bit different, but things happen. I have no regrets. Looking back, it's all good."
It took Zubrus some time to get another job, though.
A brief tryout with St. Louis didn't pan out. Zubrus had just returned to New Jersey when DeBoer called asking if he was interested in another tryout. He met up with the Sharks in Boston and practiced with them for about a week before signing a one-year contract Nov. 24.
Entering Thursday's game, he had three goals and two assists in 36 games with the Sharks, skating lately at left wing on their fourth line with Chris Tierney and Melker Karlsson.
"It's been good," Zubrus said. "Right now, I'm playing with a couple young guys and they're both good players. I still get to buzz around. The locker room is an awesome locker room. It's a very good mix with younger guys and older guys and the coaches, too, do a great job. It's fun coming to the rink every day."