Here is my tribute to one of the greatest, most underrated defensemen to ever play the game, and arguably the best d-man the Dallas Stars have ever had.
It all started on June 22, 1996 when the Stars stole acquired Sergei Zubov from the Penguins for Kevin Hatcher. Who’d have thought that this would be one of the best, if not the best, trades in franchise history.
Zubie made this team what it was. For the past thirteen years, he’s been our number one defenseman. A leader. A huge part of the franchise.
I don’t know what I’ll miss most about Zubov. His silky smooth moves? Him rocking the point on the power-play? Those scary-cool no-look passes? His calmness? His mentoring skills?
I’m just gonna plain miss the guy and everything about him.
I always took pride in knowing that Zubov was the most underrated player in the league, his only recognition being a Norris nomination in 05-06. Maybe I’m just being a homer here, but Zubie deserved more than simply one Norris nomination. He should have received at least one trophy, if not five of Nick Lidstrom’s. Zubie wasn’t just any underrated talent, he was our underrated talent. 🙂
Zubie was always a quiet, humble guy. He never said much, but he let his play do the talking. Zubov never sold himself, either, even though with that talent could have. He drew the respect from players around the league because they at least knew he was something special.
I’ve always loved how he looks so happy when he’s on the ice. Seeing the way he glowed was just priceless. It’s times like that that you realize how much he loves playing hockey. It’s painful to know that I’ll never see that again.
To me, the worst part about this whole thing is the fact that Zubov never got a proper final game. It was just a random game in the season and nobody knew it was his last. He never got a standing ovation or a final circle around the ice in Dallas. Someday, we will honor him properly. We just have to.
It’s been known for awhile that we probably wouldn’t get him back, but that still didn’t numb the shock or the pain when I saw that he was leaving us for good. It kills me to know that he will never play another game for the Stars. Ever.
As sad as it is that he’s departing for the KHL, I would have been devastated to see him sign for anyone else in the NHL.
With Zubie going to Russia, it’s sort of touching to know that he ended his NHL career with the Stars. Zubov is a Dallas Star through and through. I’d like to tell him, “Thank you,” for that, because in a way, he repaid the franchise for everything.
I cannot wait for the day when 56 is raised to the rafters of the American Airlines Center.
Thanks for everything, Zubie. I wish you nothing but the best. 56 to the rafters!