Brandon Dubinsky has played 29 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets since being traded there from the New York Rangers in July 2012. The 27-year old is looking forward to his first full season in Columbus, a place where he says he feels at home. Home to Dubinsky was always Alaska, but New York City's influence is seen everywhere in his new digs in Columbus. Tapped In catches up with Dubinsky to talk about several topics, including Dubinsky's passion for golf, life in Alaska and his watch collection.
Kathryn Tappen: What's your handicap these days?
Brandon Dubinsky: Probably about a 7 right now.
KT: Any holes in one?
BD: I had one hole in one in New York. Funny story behind that. I told one of my buddies I would go to the Yankees game with him. I told him I'd meet him at Yankee Stadium with tickets. I got my days mixed up and ended up going golfing instead. I ended up with a hole in one that day. When I called him all excited, he said he wasn't happy for me because he was waiting at Yankee Stadium to go into the game.
KT: So you had to buy drinks for the clubhouse AND your buddies at the stadium?
BD: I definitely owed him a few.
KT: Tell me about the hole.
BD: It was a 179-yard par 3 at Hudson National [Golf Club]. I used a 7 iron, and I didn't even see it go in.
KT: The irony is that you aren't even the best athlete in your family, are you?
BD: My wife and I have quite the competitive relationship when it comes to sports. My first thought when she told me she played basketball at University of Virginia was, “She played women's basketball, how good could she be?” We played a game of HORSE and she drained seven or eight 3-pointers in a row and I knew then that she was pretty darn good after all. She's really good at tennis, too. We have some great tennis matches against each other. She's a great athlete from a big athletic family.
KT: Growing up in Alaska, were you a big fisherman?
BD: We did some fishing down on the Kenai [River]. We kept ourselves busy with outdoor activities. With the sun not going down in the summer it made things very cool outside.
KT: What was the biggest fish you ever caught?
BD: I think I caught a 130-pound halibut one time and I was 12-13 years old. The thing was about as big as I was. It was like reeling in a piece of plywood off the bottom of the ocean.
KT: I hope you got to eat it after all that hard work.
BD: That's the best part about fishing. There's a lot of fish to catch and we get it fresh and put it right on the grill.
KT: Tell me about the first time you left the great state of Alaska.
BD: I lived a couple different places growing up. I can't remember the first time I left Alaska, but I can tell you that I remember my Dad coming to me when I was about 5 years old asking us what we thought about moving to Washington. We were so excited! My Dad asked what we wanted to do when we got there. We told him we wanted to see the Capitals play. We didn't know that we were moving to Seattle, Washington, and not Washington DC.
KT: Oh what a disappointment! Were the Capitals your favorite team?
BD: No, actually, the New York Rangers were, funny enough.
KT: Have you circled the date on your calendar when you face your former team for the first time since being traded?
BD: I know the first game is Nov. 7, I think it's here in Columbus. And I think Dec. 12 is our first game in New York; so yeah, you can say I've done my homework!
KT: There was a great picture of you as a kid with Jaromir Jagr that surfaced recently.
BD: I think that picture was taken in 1992 after they had just won the Cup. I was living in Seattle at the time, I was about 6 or 7 years old. We went up to Vancouver for a trading-card show. I really wanted Mark Messier's autograph, but the line was all the way around the block. I didn't want to wait. To be honest, I didn't know who Jaromir Jagr was or what he would become. But I wanted a picture with an NHL player. Sure enough, he turned out to be a future Hall of Famer. It worked out nicely for us.
KT: You two were linemates your rookie year in New York – did you show him that picture?
BD: I brought it in, and everyone got a good laugh out of it.
KT: I had no idea you were such a fashionista!
BD: You feel good when you look nice and wear nice clothes, especially when you get the opportunity to have them. It came from New York. If you didn't have a nice suit or carry a nice bag the rest of the guys were going to get on you.
KT: How much did Henrik Lundqvist play into that?
BD: I mean, he brings his A-game every day. Whether it's practice or not that guy wants to be in a suit and tie. He makes the rest of us look bad for sure.
KT: Shopping must be a little different in Columbus than it was in New York City.
BD: I got a Saks Fifth Avenue here, so I go there. But I've amassed quite the collection in New York, so I don't have to go out and keep buying new things.
KT: I hear you have quite the watch collection?
BD: It doesn't matter if it's a $25 watch I bought on Canal Street, an old Timex with the elastic band and the Indiglo on it or one of the Rolex's I have, I just like watches. They say a lot about your personality. I probably have 25 watches. Maybe five of them are high end, and the rest are just interesting.