08
Dec
10

Darius Kasparaitis

Full name: Darius Vladovich Kasparaitis
Last Team: SKA St. Petersburg

Number: 6
Position: Defenseman
Height: 5’11″/180 cm
Weight: 215 lbs/98 kg
Shoots: Left
Born: October 16, 1972 in Elektrenai, LIT
Drafted: Selected by New York Islander in 1st round (5th overall) of the 1992 entry Draft

Strengths: When he played, Darius was a one-of-a-kind wrecking ball on the ice. He was best known for his physical play, penalty-killing, checking, and shot-blocking abilities. He lived up to his nickname “Kaspar the unfriendly ghost.”

Weaknesses: Sometimes Kasparaitis got carried away targeting opposing teams’ players and took a lot of costly penalties. His offensive skills did not develop to the level expected when he started his NHL career.

Biography: Lithuania produces few hockey players, let alone stars. When Darius joined the Dynamo club in Moscow, he became the first Lithuanian to play in the Soviet Championship in over thirty years. He debuted with Dynamo at the age of sixteen and was a member of the back-to-back championship teams of 1991 and 1992. Kasparaitis also had a significant international career. His awards included an all-star berth at the 1990 European Junior Championships, a silver medal at the 1991 World Juniors, a gold medal and best defenseman award at the 1992 World Juniors, a gold medal at 1992 Olympics, a silver medal at 1998 Olympics, and a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympics. All that Darius is missing is the Stanley Cup. When he played for the New York Islanders in the mid-1990s his team often missed the playoffs. On the Pittsburgh Penguins, Darius found more success playing alongside stars such as Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, and Alexei Kovalev. During a 2001 quarterfinal playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres, Darius scored the biggest goal of his career – in overtime of game seven. In 2002, Kaspar had a short stint as a playoff rental for the Colorado Avalanche before being signed by the New York Rangers. During the 2004-05 season, he played on the star-studded Ak Bars Kazan team in Russia. After a decrease in productivity in the NHL and a few conditioning stints with the Rangers’ farm club in the AHL, Kasparaitis was loaned to SKA St. Petersburg of the Russian Superleague in 2007. Despite being such a menace on the ice, Darius has a soft side too. For every player whom he injured, Darius prayed. With his wife Irina he donates equipment to hockey schools in Lithuania. Once retiring as a hockey player, Kasparaitis was quick to make use of his colourful personality and is now an assistant coach for SKA.

Club Stats:

Season Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM
1988-89 Dynamo Moscow 3 0 0 0 0
1989-90 Dynamo Moscow 1 0 0 0 0
1990-91 Dynamo-2 Moscow (USSR-3) 16 3
1990-91 Dynamo Moscow 17 0 1 1 10
1991-92 Dynamo-2 Moscow (USSR-3) 8 2 1 3 8
1991-92 Dynamo Moscow 31 2 10 12 14
1992-93 Dynamo Moscow 7 1 3 4 4
1992-93 NY Islanders 79 4 17 21 +15 166
1993-94 NY Islanders 76 1 10 11 -6 142
1994-95 NY Islanders 13 0 1 1 -11 22
1995-96 NY Islanders 46 1 7 8 -12 93
1996-97 NY Islanders/Pittsburgh 75 2 22 24 +17 100
1997-98 Pittsburgh 81 4 8 12 +3 127
1998-99 Pittsburgh 48 1 4 5 +12 70
1999-00 Pittsburgh 73 3 12 15 -12 146
2000-01 Pittsburgh 77 3 16 19 +11 111
2001-02 Pittsburgh/Colorado 80 2 12 14 0 142
2002-03 NY Rangers 80 3 11 14 +5 85
2003-04 NY Rangers 44 1 9 10 +11 48
2004-05 Ak Bars Kazan 28 1 3 4 118
2005-06 NY Rangers 67 0 6 6 +7 97
2006-07 Hartford (AHL) 12 0 3 3 +1 8
2006-07 NY Rangers 24 2 2 4 -1 30
2007-08 Hartford (AHL) 4 1 0 1 +1 4
2007-08 SKA St. Petersburg 33 1 4 5 80
2008-09 SKA St. Petersburg 26 0 1 1 34
Totals USSR/RSL/KHL Reg. Season 136 5 22 27 264
Totals RSL/KHL Playoffs 11 0 2 2 55
Totals NHL Reg. Season 863 27 136 163 +39 1379
Totals NHL Playoffs 83 2 10 12 -9 107

National Team Stats:

Year Tournament GP G A PTS PIM
1990 European U18 6 1 6 7 12
1991 World U20 6 1 3 4 16
1992 World U20 7 1 5 6 8
1992 Olympic Games 8 0 2 2 2
1992 World Championship 6 2 1 3 4
1996 World Championship 8 0 2 2 2
1996 World Cup 5 0 2 2 14
1998 Olympic Games 6 0 2 2 6
2002 Olympic Games 6 1 0 1 4
2004 World Cup 4 0 1 1 8
2006 Olympic Games 8 0 2 2 8
Totals U18 Level 6 1 6 7 12
Totals U20 Level 13 2 8 10 24
Totals Senior Level 51 3 12 15 48

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