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Darius Kasparaitis: Wikis

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Born October 16, 1972 (1972-10-16) (age 37),
Elektrėnai, Lithuanian SSR,
Soviet Union
Height
Weight
5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Left
KHL team
F. teams
SKA Saint Petersburg
New York Rangers
Colorado Avalanche
Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Islanders
USSR
Dynamo Moscow
RSL
Ak Bars Kazan
Ntl. team  Russia &
Unified Team &
 Soviet Union
NHL Draft 5th overall, 1992
New York Islanders
Playing career 1988 – present

Darius Kasparaitis (Russian: Дарюс Каспарайтис; born October 16, 1972) is a Lithuanian-born Russian professional ice hockey defenseman currently playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Known by the nickname Kaspar, he has dual citizenship in the United States and Russia, and he plays for the Russian national ice hockey team.

Contents

Playing career

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 has played for the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers.

Kasparaitis is known for his aggressive physical playing style — including the famous hip check — and has led his teams in hits several times, including his rookie season, in 1992–93 NHL season with the New York Islanders. One of the players that he seemed to single out during that season was Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux, as he repeatedly knocked Mario out of his game during the Patrick Division finals, as the Islanders upset the Penguins in Game Seven. Lemieux had to play with his Lithuanian antagonist when Kasparaitis was traded to the Penguins, a trade that did not only demonstrate Kasparaitis' harsh side but also his scoring talents. Kasparaitis' biggest moments in Pittsburgh were a devastating hit on Eric Lindros in 1998[1][2] that knocked Lindros out of action for 18 games and made Kasparaitis a near folk-hero in Pittsburgh, and scoring a game seven overtime goal vs. Buffalo in 2001. Kasparaitis eventually wound up back in the Empire State, being signed to the New York Rangers. It was widely speculated that his contract was going to be bought out prior to the 2005–2006 season; however, the Rangers chose to keep him for leadership purposes. 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.

Due to the fact that 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, as the coaching staff perceived him to be not in top game shape. Despite working hard towards a return to the NHL, 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 continues to play for SKA St. Petersburg today.

Transactions

Awards

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

Family

Kasparaitis is now a naturalized American citizen. He and his first wife Irina (born 1965 in Russia) have a daughter named Elizabeth. After they divorced, Kasparaitis married a Swedish real estate agent named Ingela. Kasparaitis and his second wife divorced the summer of 2006. Now he and his girlfriend Lisa Carrol have twin daughters named Liv and Lilly born in Sweden, September 3, 2008.

Career statistics

    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 totals 61 2 7 9 198 11 0 2 2 55
NHL totals 863 27 136 163 1379 83 2 10 12 107

International play

Olympic medal record
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

Played for the Soviet Union in:

Played for CIS/Unified Team in:

Played for Russia in:

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International statistics

Year Team Event Place   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 Unified Team Oly 1 8 0 2 2 2
1992 CIS 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
Senior Int'l Totals 51 3 12 15 50

References

  1. ^ Eric Lindros timeline
  2. ^ Eric Lindros' concussion history

External links


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