Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's fond farewell for Kubina

Ask Lightning captain Marty St. Louis about former teammate Pavel Kubina, and you get an arm's-length list of reasons he was so effective on the ice.

"He played the game hard," St. Louis said. "He blocked a lot of shots, and he had a pretty good offensive flair that was probably underrated."

But there also was this: "He was a good soul," St. Louis said. "He was a good human being."

It is worth remembering as Kubina, 36, officially announced his retirement Friday after 13 seasons, including 10 in two stints with Tampa Bay.

Kubina was a funny guy. He made fun of you but never mocked and did it in such a way you could laugh at yourself.

He was sensitive, too. During the 2003 playoffs, a Kubina slap shot gashed the face of Devils defenseman Scott Stevens. Several New Jersey players accused Kubina of deliberately shooting at Stevens in an attempt to injure.

Kubina answered the charge the next day, so upset at its nature that his voice quivered. The next season, New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur admitted it was all a ploy to try to unnerve the big Czech.

That was difficult to do on the ice. At 6 feet 4, 258 pounds, Kubina, a seventh-round draft choice in 1996 (179th overall), was a horse. He played his best in the biggest moments and relished facing the game's biggest stars. The picture of him looming over a fallen Jaromir Jagr during the 2003 playoffs against the Capitals is a classic.

Kubina still holds the Lightning record for defensemen with 72 goals. He was part of Tampa Bay's 2003-04 Stanley Cup team. He is a three-time Olympian (bronze in 2006) and won three world championships.

An argument can be made that, given his career, Kubina was Tampa Bay's most savvy draft choice.

But as former Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said of his former teammate, who also played for the Thrashers, Maple Leafs and Flyers: "He's a guy who you always liked to be around. He was always laughing. He always had fun with his teammates. I was his roommate for a year when we first started. Just a great guy."

And that is a great way to be remembered.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@tampabay.com

Lightning's fond farewell for Kubina 12/21/13 [Last modified: Saturday, December 21, 2013 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.