has spent a lot of time walking on sunshine – literally – during his National Hockey League career.
The veteran defenceman was an eighth-round selection (192nd overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. And two years there, he spent five seasons in hockey-mad Minnesota before suiting up the last two years with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was obtained by the Ottawa Senators in a trade in late-August.
Kuba, whose holiday celebration each year includes a Dec. 29 birthday (he’s 32 in 2008), quickly established himself as a force for the Senators by setting an NHL record with assists in his first eight games this season.
He took a few moments to share some thoughts on the Senators and his new hockey home in Canada: Q: What do you see as your role on this team?
A: I’m just trying to help the team from any position on the ice, whether it’s even strength or power play or shorthanded. I’m hoping to spend a lot of minutes on the ice.Q: What do you like most about being a part of the power-play unit?
A: It’s good to be on the ice when you have the man advantage, especially with the guys we have here. We have a lot of good talent. Being on the ice with Spezz (Jason Spezza
), Heater (Dany Heatley) and Alfie (Daniel Alfredsson
), I enjoy that.
Q: How much do you enjoy playing in a Canadian market for the first time in your NHL career?
A: I feel like I’m still getting used to it. But they have great fans here. The hockey support is huge and it’s a lot different that what I was used to in Tampa. I like it.Q: Who were your hockey idols when you were growing up?
A: Nobody in particular. I was watching the league at home, in my hometown (Ostrava), and those were the players I looked up to. We didn’t have much coverage of the NHL when I grew up.Q: What age were you when you decided you wanted to play in the NHL? Was it always a goal when you were young?
A: Probably not. We didn’t have much information about the NHL back then. The communist government was still in power there and they wouldn’t allow you to go to play in places like the NHL. My goal was just to make my hometown team and play for the men’s team there (HC Vitkovice), the Division I team. That was my goal.Q: When did it become a realistic goal to play in the NHL?
A: Probably when I got drafted. I knew it was something I definitely wanted to try.