Devils Q&A with Travis Zajac

Devils' center working toward a successful 2008-09 season

Wednesday, 09.17.2008 / 4:10 PM ET / News
New Jersey Devils
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Devils Q&A with Travis Zajac

Zajac collected 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points in 82 games during the 2007-08 campaign. – Summer for Travis Zajac means returning to his native Winnipeg for some fishing and country music. Entering his third season as a Devil, the 6-2, 200-lb. center heads home to Manitoba every offseason before coming back to New Jersey for the start of training camp.

View Travis Zajac highlights
For the final Devils Q&A feature of the 2008 offseason, turned to Zajac, who is back in the Garden State and ready to open camp next week.

How did you spend your offseason?  Did you go anywhere special?

Livingston, N.J.

Zajac: Most of my offseason was spent in Winnipeg. I went away on weekends, traveling up north to do some fishing for walleye and just relax. We'd catch some and cook it up afterwards, and I think walleye's the best fish to eat.

Were you a fan of the Winnipeg Jets? Who were your favorite players?

Westwood, N.J.

I was a big fan of the Jets and it was sad to see them move. When I went to games the guys I watched most were Thomas Steen and Teemu Selanne, also Keith Tkachuk. Those guys were a big part of the Jets at the time, and they were fun to watch.

What's your favorite type of music and artist? What was your best concert experience?

New York City

TZ: My favorite type of music is country, and I'd say my favorite artist is Dierks Bentley. I've seen him in concert at Dauphin Countryfest in Dauphin, Manitoba, and he's a great entertainer.

What is the one album, song, or artist you can't live without?

Livingston, N.J.

I'd say my favorite song or artist to listen to before a game is Nickelback. That gets me pumped up to play.  A good song of theirs would be "Someone That You're With."

How do you stay in shape during the offseason?

Newark, N.J.

I take a couple of weeks off after the season, then start training with weights, cardio and plyometrics.

You have a craving for some chow.  Do you go for chicken wings, pizza, or a cheesesteak?  Where would you go for that?

Stockton, N.J.

I'd say pizza, and my favorite place is Forte's [in Caldwell]. The pizza here in New Jersey is absolutely better than it is back home.

I'm curious to know how you came to the decision to go the NCAA route rather then playing junior hockey – especially being a kid from western Canada where the Western Hockey League is a more common hockey goal.

Santa Cruz, Calif.

It had a lot to do with me being a late-bloomer. Physically I wasn't ready to play in the WHL and playing Junior A for an extra year let me grow into my body a little and become a better player. That said, going the NCAA route meant you could play hockey and get a scholarship at the same time, and it seemed like a win-win situation. It turned out to be a great stepping stone for me.

Do you stay in close contact with some of your former teammates from the University of North Dakota?

Chester, Md.

Absolutely. Some of my better friends played for UND, guys like Rylan Kaip who's now with Atlanta and Drew Stafford with Buffalo. Playing alongside those guys, I definitely made some friends for life.

How did you adjust going straight from college to the NHL?

Bergen County, N.J.

  I think it was fairly smooth for me. College helped me become more of a complete player, and at North Dakota we kind of played the same style that the Devils play. It was about being reliable defensively and still being able to make plays on offense.

Were you always a top scorer when you played high school hockey?

Clifton, N.J.

I'd say I was up there in scoring, but that wasn't always my goal. I was focused on making the players around me better.

Do you have any pets, if so what are their names?

Manville, N.J.

I have one pet back home in Winnipeg, our family dog. His name's Samson, and he's a Golden Retriever. He's a great dog.

Offseason acquisition Brian Rolston has a Newfoundland with the same name.

If you where stranded on a deserted island what five things would you bring?


An Xbox, a television, my girlfriend, an iPod and my cellphone.

What is your all-time favorite memory as a Devil?


I'd have to say opening night at Prudential Center. The first game we played here was something special. It was a great atmosphere and a great step for this team. To be in this rink and our new home with our great fans was tremendous.  

Zajac celebrates a goal with Parise (l.).
You and Zach Parise seem to work with each other really well on the ice and seem very close. Are you close outside of the game too?

Hainesport, N.J.

He's one of my better friends on the Devils. He's someone I get along with; we're around the same age and we hang out together. He's a great player and a great role model for me.

What parts of your game have you been working on improving this year?

Hamilton, N.J.

Definitely worked on getting bigger and stronger. Also, getting quicker – I think you can always work on your skating as a hockey player. You can never be too fast. I think that's one of the things I've focused on: getting more powerful as a skater.

Going into your third NHL season, what kind of personal goals have you set for yourself for this upcoming season?

Höör, Sweden

I want to start off with a lot of confidence, make some plays offensively and just have a great season. Teamwise, we're looking to improve each year. Last year was disappointing, so this year we're working to make the playoffs and go from there. Hopefully, we go deep into the playoffs.




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54


A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59