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Darius Kasparaitis
Darius Kasparaitis.jpg
Born October 16, 1972 (1972-10-16) (age 46)
Elektrėnai, Lithuanian SSR, URS
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
Played for USSR
Dynamo Moscow
NHL
New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins
Colorado Avalanche
New York Rangers
RSL/KHL
Ak Bars Kazan
SKA Saint Petersburg
National team Template:Country data URS &
Template:FlagIOC &
Template:Country data RUS
NHL Draft 5th overall, 1992
New York Islanders
Playing career 1988–2009

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

Playing CareerEdit

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

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

Darius was known for his aggressive physical playing style and led his teams in hits several times, including his rookie season in the 1992-93 NHL season with the New York Islanders.

While playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1998, Darius made a hard hit on Eric Lindros that knocked Lindros out of action for 18 games. He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline in 2002, where he spent the remainder of the 2001-02 NHL season.

Darius eventually wound up with the New York Rangers. During the 2005–06 season, he served as an alternate captain of the Rangers (along with Jaromir Jagr 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, Darius chose to represent Russia in official events. In December of 2005, he was chosen to represent Russia in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

At the start of the 2006–07 season, Darius 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 Darius had been loaned to SKA St. Petersburg of the then-Russian Superleague (RSL) (now called 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.

Darius left an enduring impression with Ranger fans with the team salute that he created. After every Rangers home win, he 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.

Darius 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, Darius did not play due to an injury and eventually, he announced his retirement at the conclusion of the season. Despite his retirement, he is attempting to become eligible to represent Lithuania internationally.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

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

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
1991 Soviet Union WJC Template:Silver2 6 1 3 4 16
1992 CIS WJC Template:Gold1 7 1 5 6 8
1992 CIS Oly Template:Gold1 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 Template:Silver2 6 0 2 2 6
2002 Russia Oly Template:Bronze3 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

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Competitor for Template:Country data RUS & Template:Country data CIS & Template:Country data SUN 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

Coaching CareerEdit

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

AccoladesEdit

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

Personal LifeEdit

Darius is now a naturalized American citizen.

He is the father of five kids; Darius has a daughter with his first wife Irina named Elizabeth Marija, who was born on March 19, 1997 in Pittsburgh. He and his second wife, Ingela divorced in 2006.

Darius's current wife is Lisa Carrol and they have twin daughters, Liv and Lilly (born on September 3, 2008) in Stockholm and two sons, Marley (born on August 19, 2010) in Saint Petersburg and Miles (born on November 11, 2014) in Miami. They share their time between South Florida and Stockholm.

Darius holds dual nationality and is a citizen of Lithuania and the United States.

In early 2015, he co-founded the Verzasca Group, which is a Florida based real estate development company, of which he holds the title as president.

They took the name Verzasca from the Swiss river, because of the "transparency that the firm strives to bring to both its investors and its development partners." Later in the year, the company had gained approval on two residential projects in the Miami area.

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