That’s the uncle of NHL defenseman and newly acquired Boston Bruins player Greg Zanon
, who was shipped from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Providence defenseman Steven Kampfer minute before today’s trade deadline.
“My uncle [Doug Foster] back home is a big Bruins fan and has been for a while,” Zanon said. “So I’m sure he’s probably jumping for joy now that he can cheer for a team that I’m on.”
Zanon was pretty excited, too.
“Any time you can come to an Original Six team in this league it’s a big deal,” Zanon said. “And I’m really honored to have the opportunity to play.”
It’s still unclear if Zanon, who’s slated to arrive in Boston Tuesday morning, will play in tomorrow’s game against the Ottawa Senators, but he said he is ready to contribute either way.
“I’d love to get into the lineup as soon as I can, but obviously that’s a coaching and a management decision,” Zanon said. “So, whatever they decide for me is, I’m sure they’ll let me know either way. And if I am playing I’ll be ready to go and just try to do the best I can.”
Zanon comes to the Bruins as one of the league’s best shot-blockers, as he finished second in the league with 212 blocks. In the 2008-09 season with the Nashville Predators, he burst onto the scene and finished third in the league with 237 blocks, and in 2009-10 he ranked fourth with 196.
“Zanon is a terrific shot blocker, he’s a real gritty competitor,” General Manager Peter Chiarelli said of Zanon, who has blocked 104 shots in 39 games played. “He’s a warrior type defenseman.”
The 31-year-old, left-shot defenseman said he was excited to join the Boston Bruins, who he called a strong, physical, defensive team.
“Definitely watching last year when they were making the run at the Cup, they beat up on teams just with their physical play and being able to get up and down the ice the way they do,” Zanon said. “I just hope I can fit in with my physical aspect of the game. I’ll do anything to try to prevent a goal and just do anything that the team needs me to do.
Zanon said that he is unsure of what his role is going to be with the team, but he is confident that he will fit in.
“They’ll let me know somewhat of what my role is going to be when I get there,” Zanon said. “But the only thing I can do is come and just play the way I’ve played my whole career and hopefully it takes care of itself.”
The trade marks Zanon’s first stint with the Boston Bruins, but it isn’t his first interaction with Chiarelli.
The Bruins GM drafted the defenseman in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, but they couldn’t come to an agreement and Zanon walked away to sign with the Nashville Predators.
“I can recall we were off a little bit on the signing bonus and we decided to walk,” Chiarelli said. “And he probably said, ‘Screw you,’ and he had a good career, so I give him credit. And I watched him and he’s a gritty guy and it doesn’t surprise me that he had a good career.”
But at the time, Zanon said he didn’t take it personally. Instead, he looked at it as another way to getting to the NHL.
“I just come every day and try to be the best I can with what I’ve got and I just try to push myself,” Zanon said. “But, you know, it really didn’t [affect me], it was just another avenue, just another kink in the road that you have to go through to get to the league.”
Either way the situation is viewed, Zanon is thrilled to join the club.
“Initially you don’t want to ever leave when you’re trying to accomplish something, but I’m very excited to be a part of the Boston Bruins,” he said. “What they have ahead of themselves this year, they’re sitting for playoffs and hopefully making another run at the Cup.”--- Anthony Gulizia