Family, friends and thanks were at the center of acceptance speeches for Sergei Zubov and Guy Carbonneau upon their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday in Toronto.
Zubov thanked his wife, Irina, calling her his best friend, and also gave tribute to boyhood friend Alexander Karpovtsev, who died in the 2011 plane crash of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team. Carbonneau thanked his wife, Line, and his children, and said his Montreal Canadiens teammates were paramount in his success as a player, especially former Stars general manager Bob Gainey.
It was an emotional night for two players who had waited some time for the honor. Carbonneau's career ended in 2000 and Zubov's in 2010. Carbonneau was presented his plaque by former Montreal teammates and Gainey. Zubov was presented his by former Stars teammate Brett Hull.
[PHOTOS: Carbonneau, Zubov at 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame weekend]
"As a kid, I was dreaming about playing in the NHL, dreaming of winning the Stanley Cup, dreaming of scoring a goal in the playoffs," Carbonneau said. "Somehow, as we make our way through the hockey ranks, we learn how to react to different things. When we get drafted, when we play our first game, when we score our first goal, and for the lucky ones, when we finally win the Cup.
"But being inducted in the Hall of Fame? Never in my wildest dreams."
While Zubov joked about his reluctance to talk to the media, something that might have cost him awards and eventually delayed his induction into the Hall.
Video: Guy Carbonneau inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame
"To the media, I say, `Nice to meet you,'" Zubov joked.
He then added, slipping in a jab at former coach Ken Hitchcock and Hull: "I had a reputation not to talk too much before. Here's my chance … Hitch and Hullie talked enough all of those years in Dallas anyway for all of us."
Zubov described his start skating on the outdoor rinks in Moscow, and gave a tribute to his friend Karpovtsev.
[READ MORE: Why Guy Carbonneau's stop in Dallas proved huge in path to Hall of Fame]
"The first three years of elementary school, I spent with Alexander Karpovtsev. He's the guy I should praise for bringing me into hockey," Zubov said. "We had long hours skating on outside rink in our neighborhood. And one day he brought me to real hockey club. It was nice rink, but most importantly it had a Zamboni machine. We pushed each other to be better than the other, and I still think he had a better slap shot."
Zubov and Karpotvsev were teammates on the 1993 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers and remained friends throughout their different careers. Karpovtsev was an assistant coach for Lokomotiv and died when the team's plane crashed in 2011.
"We couldn't possibly know that 17 years later, we would be part of first Russians to be engraved on the Stanley Cup," Zubov said. "I know he's watching tonight."
Video: Sergei Zubov forever remembered as key to Stars' core
Zubov was traded from the Rangers to the Penguins and then to the Stars. He thanked management and players on all three teams, but said he was not happy when he first heard about the trade to Dallas.
"Really? Texas, hockey?" Zubov said. "I told my agent: `Call them up, I'm not going. Get me traded.'"
But then he looked at Gainey and told the story of why he decided to change his mind.
[READ MORE: How Sergei Zubov's hockey sense molded him into a Hall of Famer and one of the all-time great defensemen]
"But Bob Gainey, he sent the most beautiful bouquet of flowers to my wife, and she said, `Maybe you should give it a try.'" Zubov said with a smile. "And I know that things always go better if I listen to my closest friend. Irina, you are my best friend. You have been next to me the whole time. You have been my guide, I love you so much."
Carbonneau also thanked his family. His two daughters -- Anne-Marie and Kristina -- live in Dallas, and so do his grandkids.
"Thanks to Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk, Derian Hatcher, Sergei Zubov, Craig Ludwig, coach Ken Hitchcock and all of the rest of my teammates," Carbonneau said. "And to the city of Dallas for embracing me, and to this day, taking care of my two daughters and my grandchildren."
Video: Guy Carbonneau's journey to Hockey Hall of Fame
After a little more than two years coaching Sochi in the KHL, Zubov was fired this fall. He is living in New York and is talking to the Stars about helping out as a consultant. He, too, said Dallas was important to him.
"Family is everything in hockey … in life," Zubov said. "I want to thank all of Dallas Stars organization for their support, and everything they have done for me and my family."
Zubov concluded by saying: "I'm still in hockey because I love this game so much, and every time, it brings me a lot of joy. I had fun, I still do. But it's been possible only because I've been surrounded by so many important people in my life. Thank you so much."
[LEGENDS FOREVER: Stars to honor Carbonneau, Zubov in special ceremony on Friday, Dec. 13]
While Carbonneau wrapped up his speech with a heartfelt thank you to his wife.
"We've known each other for a long time, 42 years to be exact. This award never happens if you are not with me. Thank you. I love you," he said.
"And the good part now is when people ask me in the street if I'm in the Hockey Hall of Fame, my answer will be yes."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.