Darius Kasparaitis

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Darius Kasparaitis
Darius Kasparaitis.jpg
Born (1972-10-16) October 16, 1972 (age 42)
Elektrėnai, Lithuanian SSR, Soviet Union
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for NHL
New York Rangers
Colorado Avalanche
Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Islanders
USSR
Dynamo Moscow
RSL/KHL
Ak Bars Kazan
SKA Saint Petersburg
National team  Soviet Union 
Unified Team &
 Russia
NHL Draft 5th overall, 1992
New York Islanders
Playing career 1988–2009

Darius Kasparaitis (born October 16, 1972) is a retired Lithuanian professional ice hockey defenceman. He mainly played in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career[edit]

Kasparaitis left Lithuania for Russia at age 14 after training with Aleksey Nikiforov to play ice hockey at a higher level. Kasparaitis played his first game for Dynamo Moscow, one of the premier teams in the Soviet Union, at the age of 16 during the 1988–89 season, and won the Soviet League championship with them in 1992.

He was drafted by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. Kasparaitis played for the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers.

Kasparaitis was known for his aggressive physical playing style and led his teams in hits[citation needed] several times, including his rookie season, in 1992–93 NHL season with the New York Islanders. Kasparaitis' made a hard hit on Eric Lindros in 1998[1][2] that knocked Lindros out of action for 18 games, and he scored a game seven overtime goal vs. Buffalo in 2001. He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline in 2002, where he spent the remainder of the 2001–02 NHL season. Kasparaitis eventually wound up with the New York Rangers. During the 2005–06 season, he served as an alternate captain of the Rangers, along with Jaromír Jágr and Steve Rucchin, as the Rangers had no captain.

Because the Lithuanian ice hockey team was relatively weak and hadn't ever played in major competitions, Kasparaitis chose to represent Russia in official events. In December 2005, Kasparaitis was chosen to represent Russia in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

At the start of the 2006–07 season, Kasparaitis was replaced as an alternate captain with the Rangers by newly acquired Brendan Shanahan. He was waived by the New York Rangers on January 24, 2007 and subsequently demoted to the Rangers' affiliate in Hartford. Kasparaitis was once again waived by the Rangers prior to the 2007–08 season.

On November 3, 2007, the Rangers announced that Kasparaitis had been loaned to SKA St. Petersburg of the then-Russian Superleague (RSL), now the KHL. The deal was made possible due to a lack of a transfer agreement between Russia and North America at the time. However, the Rangers retained his NHL rights.

Kasparaitis left an enduring impression with Ranger fans with the team salute that he created. After every Rangers home win, Kasparaitis would direct the players to center ice and have the whole team follow in saluting the fans by raising their sticks in the air before departing the ice. The tradition is still carried on by the Rangers for every home win.[3]

Kasparaitis continued to play for SKA Saint Petersburg in the 2008–09 season. In 26 games, he contributed a single assist.

In the 2009–10 season, he did not play due to an injury and eventually announced his retirement at the conclusion of the season.[4]

Coaching staff career[edit]

On June 19, 2010, Kasparaitis signed as the assistant coach for SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).[5] The contract expired on December 22, 2010.

Family[edit]

Kasparaitis is now a naturalized American citizen. He and his first wife Irina (born 1965 in Russia) have a daughter named Elizabeth who was born in March 19, 1997.

He and his fiancé Lisa Carrol have twin daughters, Liv and Lilly, born in Sweden, September 3, 2008 and a son, Marley, born August 19, 2010 in Russia. They now share their time between South Florida and Stockholm. He occasionally runs a 12pm clinic at Glacier Arena in Pompano Beach, FL.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1988–89 Dynamo Moscow USSR 3 0 0 0 0  —  —  —  —  —
1989–90 Dynamo Moscow USSR 1 0 0 0 0  —  —  —  —  —
1990–91 Dynamo Moscow USSR 17 0 1 1 10  —  —  —  —  —
1991–92 Dynamo Moscow CIS 31 2 10 12 14  —  —  —  —  —
1992–93 Dynamo Moscow IHL 7 1 3 4 8  —  —  —  —  —
1992–93 New York Islanders NHL 79 4 17 21 166 18 0 5 5 31
1993–94 New York Islanders NHL 76 1 10 11 142 4 0 0 0 8
1994–95 New York Islanders NHL 13 0 1 1 22  —  —  —  —  —
1995–96 New York Islanders NHL 46 1 7 8 93  —  —  —  —  —
1996–97 New York Islanders NHL 18 0 5 5 16  —  —  —  —  —
1996–97 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 57 2 16 18 84 5 0 0 0 6
1997–98 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 81 4 8 12 127 5 0 0 0 8
1998–99 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 48 1 4 5 70  —  —  —  —  —
1999–00 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 73 3 12 15 146 11 1 1 2 10
2000–01 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 77 3 16 19 111 17 1 1 2 26
2001–02 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 69 2 12 14 123  —  —  —  —  —
2001–02 Colorado Avalanche NHL 11 0 0 0 19 21 0 3 3 18
2002–03 New York Rangers NHL 80 3 11 14 85  —  —  —  —  —
2003–04 New York Rangers NHL 44 1 9 10 48  —  —  —  —  —
2004–05 Ak Bars Kazan RSL 28 1 3 4 118 3 0 0 0 6
2005–06 New York Rangers NHL 67 0 6 6 97 2 0 0 0 0
2006–07 New York Rangers NHL 24 2 2 4 30  —  —  —  —  —
2006–07 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 12 0 3 3 8  —  —  —  —  —
2007–08 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 4 1 0 1 4  —  —  —  —  —
2007–08 SKA Saint Petersburg RSL 33 1 4 5 83 8 0 2 2 4
2008–09 SKA Saint Petersburg KHL 26 0 1 1 34  —  —  —  —  —
RSL/KHL totals 146 5 22 27 267 11 0 2 2 55
NHL totals 863 27 136 163 1379 83 2 10 12 107

International[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  Russia &  CIS & Soviet Union Soviet Union
Winter Olympics
Gold 1992 Albertville Ice hockey
Silver 1998 Nagano Ice hockey
Bronze 2002 Salt Lake City Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Gold 1992 Ice hockey
Silver 1991 Ice Hockey
European Junior Championships
Silver 1990 Ice Hockey
Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
1991 Soviet Union WJC 2 6 1 3 4 16
1992 CIS WJC 1 7 1 5 6 8
1992 CIS Oly 1 8 0 2 2 2
1992 Russia WC 5th 6 2 1 3 4
1996 Russia WC 4th 8 0 2 2 2
1996 Russia WCH SF 5 0 2 2 14
1998 Russia Oly 2 6 0 2 2 6
2002 Russia Oly 3 6 1 0 1 4
2004 Russia WCH 5th 4 0 1 1 8
2006 Russia Oly 4th 8 0 2 2 8
Junior totals 13 2 8 10 24
Senior totals 51 3 12 15 50

Transactions[edit]

Awards[edit]

  • 1990: European Junior Championship All-Star Team
  • 1992: World Junior Championships Best Defenseman

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eric Lindros timeline
  2. ^ Eric Lindros' concussion history
  3. ^ "Dinosaur On Ice". New York Magazine. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  4. ^ "Kasparaitis beidz karjeru" (in Russian). parSportu.Iv. 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  5. ^ "КХЛ: Дарюс Каспарайтис станет тренером в СКА" (in Русский, Russian). КХЛ. June 19, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Scott Lachance
New York Islanders first round draft pick
1992
Succeeded by
Todd Bertuzzi