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New iPad a hit with Zubrus

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Zubrus is Devils' top dog in tech.
Meet iZub.

No, it’s not the latest shiny gadget from Apple, but it might as well be the nickname of Dainius Zubrus, the Devils’ center and resident Mac computer expert.

Apple’s new iPad tablet computer has been a hot topic since it was announced on Wednesday. Initial reactions from critics have been mixed, but Zubrus hardly hesitated when asked for his impression.

“I think it’s a buy,” he said Thursday after practice. “I think there’s a market for it, I do.”

The Devils (34-16-2) were on the ice at Prudential Center after losing, 2-1, in a shootout the night before at Buffalo. They host Toronto on Friday night. Zubrus has played in New Jersey’s last two games after missing the previous 30 with a leg injury.

“He already has his tablet on order,” chimed in Dean McAmmond, before he was reminded by Yann Danis that the iPad wouldn’t be available for a few more weeks.

“They shipped it to me two months ago to approve it,” Zubrus joked.

The 6-5 pivot says he normally packs an iPhone and Macbook Pro for road trips. But the Mac junkie didn’t expect to have a hard time fitting an iPad into his personal stable of tech toys.

His explanation was as smooth as a well-honed sales pitch: “You can put it in a dock and just show a slideshow of your photos, you can control your sound system – whatever.”

In the dressing room, Zubrus is more than a Mac fan. His cybersavvy has made him something of a go-to guy for tech troubleshooting.

“Guys do call me ‘Genius Bar,’” he deadpanned, a reference to the customer service stations at Apple stores.

“There’s guys that have Apples that have no clue what to do with it, so they ask me how to sync this, how to do this, how to do that,” he said. “I get along really well with Bryce (Salvador). He’s a Mac guy, too. So every now and then, we have a Mac conversation.”

Zubrus sees his future iPad spending plenty of time at home.

“I don’t think I’m going to use it that much (for travel) because I have an iPhone and laptop and need both of them,” Zubrus explained. “But I think around the house, I think it’s usable. I probably won’t travel with it because I always travel with my laptop. It’s always there with me; the strongest, lightest one they have.”

And in the car.

“I try to understand what the market is for it,” he said. “My wife has been telling me forever, ‘Let’s put some TVs in the headrests for the kids,’ when she drives around. Know what? No. I’ll get that for them instead and let them play video games or watch a movie.”

McAmmond weighed in that inexpensive options exist for DVD screens that flip down over the headrests, making for easy installation.

“I know,” said Zubrus. “But she says those aren’t tech enough.”

McAmmond revealed he has four Macs at home. Not to be outdone, Zubrus added that he has four, too.

“At home, I have a Mac Pro – the big daddy,” Zubrus said. “That one is all Photoshop (photo editing software) and Final Cut (video editing software). My wife has one, I have a big station for myself and a Mac Mini for my kids.”

Zubrus’ expert status was news to Danis, another of the club’s Apple users.

“‘Genius Bar?’” the goalie said with a laugh. “It wouldn’t surprise me, but I haven’t heard that yet.”

“I don’t think I’m as good as a Genius Bar,” Zubrus countered. “But I’m closest to it in this room.”

Rolston notched his 16th goal of the season Wednesday in Ottawa.
The Devils went winless in this week’s back-to-back at Ottawa and Buffalo, but head coach Jacques Lemaire had reason for optimism after his club's improvement against the Sabres.

Brian Rolston scored for the Devils, who fired 40 shots on Buffalo’s Ryan Miller before coming up short in a 2-1 shootout final.

Rolston received a Johnny Oduya pass in the neutral zone and blasted his 16th of the year shortside past Miller.

“We were better,” Lemaire said. “We had good scoring chances. Again, it’s the shot, where you put the puck. You look at Rolie: I never thought Rolie would score when I saw it because Rolie was a little tired. He was at the end of his shift. When he got the puck, I said, ‘Oh, he’s going to have to shoot because the guy’s going to catch him.’ All of a sudden he shoots, but he shot at the right place. If he shoots the other side, he doesn’t score.”

The Devils have excelled defensively, allowing a League-best 2.17 goals per game. Goals, however, have been hard to come by. They have two wins in their last eight, and just six goals in the six losses over that span.

That, said Lemaire, puts pressure on the team to execute.

“Everyone has to be nearly perfect,” he said. “Any team that doesn’t score, defense, forwards, goalies – they have to be good.”

Injuries remain a factor both for the talent the team is missing – Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, Paul Martin, Rod Pelley – and for the extra-duty required from those Devils that are healthy.

Andy Greene had 27:54 of ice time in Buffalo to lead New Jersey blueliners, while Zach Parise, who rested Thursday, led Devils’ forwards with 21:06.

“We can think about it, but not stop and think about it so deeply that it affects our production,” Lemaire said. “Definitely, it’s going to cross your mind at different times. We’re missing guys and maybe it’s the reason why we’re not scoring. But we don’t want to stay on that. We want to try to find a way to get more goals. We still have to play. We have to play, we have to win, so we have to find a way.”

• The Devils have not faced the Maple Leafs this season, but see them three times in a span of a week, beginning Friday.

“I’ve haven’t seen this, even with six teams,” Lemaire joked.

• Ilkka Pikkarainen, who cleared waivers on Friday, was assigned to CSKA Moscow of the KHL. Former Devil defenseman and assistant coach Slava Fetisov is president of the club, which is coached by former Devil forward Sergei Nemchinov.
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