32 Thoughts: The Podcast

Devan Dubnyk on the Olympics, Burning Rubber & Goalie Fights

Episode Summary

Jeff and Elliotte chat with Devan Dubnyk about his desire to play on Canada’s Olympic team, getting back in game shape, the smell of burning rubber, the hardest shot he ever faced, almost fighting Jordan Binnington, and his favourite goalie growing up.

Episode Notes

The Canadian Olympic men’s hockey team roster will be announced soon and Devan Dubnyk is one of the names on the long list. Jeff and Elliotte chat with Devan about this desire to play on the Olympic team, finding a place to play to get back in game shape, returning to the AHL after 15-years, the smell of burning rubber, the hardest shot he ever faced, the art of catching a puck, almost fighting Jordan Binnington, his favourite goalie growing up, and playing an intense Dean Evason in practice.

Full transcript for the episode can be found here by Medha Monjaury

Music Outro: King Pari - Snowday

Listen to their debut album on Spotify

This podcast is produced and mixed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman. Thanks to Paul Branecky and TJ Chillot of the Charlotte Checkers for their assistance with this interview.

Audio Credits: Fox Sports St. Louis, NBC Sports California and Toronto Maple Leafs Radio Network.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.

Episode Transcription

OPEN //// Devan Dubnyk [00:00:01] Beautiful. I hear a beautiful tone. 

[00:00:02] [SFX puck hitting post.] 

Jeff Marek [00:00:04] The smell of burning pucks on the Olympic long list for Team Canada, trying to fight Jordan Binnington, crazy goaltenders who won't let you touch their equipment, facing a fired up Dean Evason in practise as a 16 year-old netminder in junior, playing pro with Ilya Bryzgalov, getting traded by the Oilers, and much, much more. Welcome to our conversation with Devan Dubnyk on 32 Thoughts the Podcast presented by the all-new GMC AT4 Lineup. This was a lot of fun and a pretty lengthy one as well. Devin was really generous with his time. Before people hear this interview, and we touch on a lot of different things with Dubnyk. What do you find interesting about this six foot six, very athletic goaltender? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:00:46] Well I loved him talking about the near-Binnington fight last year. 

Jeff Marek [00:00:50] Oh yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:00:50] That was good. I really enjoyed talking to him about that. You know, I just think that he's a guy who's been through everything, right? He's had great successes, he's had deep disappointments. He's seen hockey at its best hockey, hockey at its worst from a performance standpoint. You know there's a lot that there is to talk about him because he's got so much experience. 

Jeff Marek [00:01:12] You know, one of my favourite things about Dubnyk was how after the Edmonton experience went south, and he's pretty candid about that in this interview here as well, and pretty funny about it, "well, I couldn't stop pucks." 

Elliotte Friedman [00:01:23] Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:01:24] Having a good sense of humour about himself. I mean, you know, the story about him, you know, finding himself in a hotel room in Hamilton, playing in the American Hockey League and saying, whoa, how did I get here? And then re-creating himself and turning himself Elliotte into a netminder with the Minnesota Wild, you know, and he gets to Minnesota and all of a sudden he becomes this like three time All-Star, earns himself, you know, a contract that's helped set him and his family up for life. It's a really good story of someone who didn't quit when hockey said, hey, maybe it's time to quit. I like that about Devan Dubnyk a lot. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:01:57] You know, the other thing too is, how many people when you've played on as many teams as he has early in his career and you're kind of sent home like he was in Montreal? 

Jeff Marek [00:02:07] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:02:07] How many people really survive it? How many people crawl out of that hole? You're basically tagged with a label. You're done. 

Jeff Marek [00:02:14] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:02:15] You're done. And one of those teams he was sent home from was Nashville, which had an excellent reputation for helping goalies. But even Dubnyk at points, I remember when I was interviewing him in the past, he even kind of said, look, I just, I wasn't at my best, and I don't think you can really be successful unless you're that honest with yourself. 

Jeff Marek [00:02:33] And still wants to keep going too. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:02:36] And still wants to keep going. Maybe for a gold medal. 

Jeff Marek [00:02:38] We shall see. Enjoy this conversation. I hope you do as much as we do. This is Devan Dubnyk on 32 Thoughts the Podcast. 

[00:02:44] [Intro music.] 

Jeff Marek [00:02:56] Elliotte, we're very pleased to be joined by Devan Dubnyk, someone we've wanted to talk to for a while with a wonderful story and a very interesting one to tell. Devan, first of all, thanks so much for joining us today. How are you? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:03:07] I'm good. Yes. Thanks for having me on. 

Jeff Marek [00:03:10] The pleasure is ours. I love talking to goaltenders. To me, they're the most fascinating creatures in the hockey universe, and now that I've buttered you up, goaltenders used to always be so weird and now they seem so normal. How would you describe yourself? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:03:24] Well, just call me a creature. So this, just a fascinating creature. Yeah. I mean, there was, I think there's a lot of, I guess it was, it was a long time ago, and it's a little different now, I don't think. 

Jeff Marek [00:03:39] Yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:03:39] I think it just got to a point where you gotta be part of the team, you had to be part of the group. And there was a time where, you know, all the old school coaches and stuff talk about goalies being off by themselves and not wanting to talk to them or worry about it. But I think that's just, you know, been gone for a long time. You gotta be, you know, it's important to be part of the team and be a normal guy, I mean, I think anybody that has to stand there for 60 minutes by themselves is always gonna have a few quirks, but everyone's got, everyone kind of had to adjust and be a little, a little more normal. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:04:10] So who's the weirdest goalie now? Because you guys all know. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:04:16] Now? Gosh, I don't know. I'm, I'm thinking like most guys that I played with are pretty normal. Like Backstrom, when I played, I was only with him for a bit. He was, but he's an older guy too. So he had some superstitions. You just don't really see it anymore. I mean, before there was guys that just, you couldn't even speak to. And I mean, when I was younger, I just, I could never do that. I just, like that would give me more anxiety than talking, to like, try to shut myself off in a hole, so I just never got into that, which, I can't shut up if you paid me anyway so. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:04:48] So let me ask you another way. Was there a goalie when you were younger just kind of feeling your way through where you said something to them or you did something and you said, uh-oh, I'm about to find out this was not the right time. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:05:00] So I--it wasn't saying anything but this goalie in Kamloops, Davis Parley, was his name and he was 20, I was 16, and he had a superstition about tapping his pads, so you couldn't touch his pads. So, you know, I went after the period was over, whatever time it was, I went to go give him a tap on the pads and he slashed my stick away. And that's like, oh shoot, sorry dude. 

Jeff Marek [00:05:35] Did you overlap with Ilya Bryzgalov? With the Coyotes? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:05:40] No, with Edmonton. 

Jeff Marek [00:05:41] Oh with Edmonton. You overlap with Bryzgalov. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:05:44] I wouldn't have even thought about that. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:05:45] Yeah, yeah. The Grizzly Bear was in Edmonton. 

Jeff Marek [00:05:48] So what was that experience like? I love that, he's one of my favourite people to talk to. What was he like as a, as a, as a teammate? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:05:54] It wasn't very long, but, you know, hilarious guy. Obviously, everybody, you know, anybody that's talked to him knows he's funny, and he was the same way in Edmonton. Like I said, it was a it was a short period of time, but he had the boys laughing pretty good when he was there, and then I was I was shipped out shortly after. 

Jeff Marek [00:06:12] I always wondered about that when, when, when you were with Edmonton, because, you mean, you were, like first of all, the one thing we all notice about you is like, really tall, really athletic. Like when I, if I'm somewhere in the organisation, I'm like, I'm not giving up on someone with that size and that athleticism. What went through your mind at that period in your career? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:06:34] You mean when I got traded from Edmonton? 

Jeff Marek [00:06:35] Yeah. I was shocked that the Oilers did it. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:06:38] Yeah, I mean, it was tough like. It was frustrating. As a young guy, you think, you always think to yourself like, oh yeah, I'm going to be a, you know, play here for life, you know, like especially being a Western Canadian kid who grew up in Calgary and like, and everything was, you know, trending upwards before that year. But the problem is, well, there's a few problems. One is I didn't stop the puck, so that was problem number one. And then there was so much change over in Edmonton. It was like, new GMs, new coaches constantly that if somebody comes in new, like Mac T [MacTavish] came in. His job is to revamp the team and we weren't being successful, so he's gotta change it. If you don't have somebody that's been there for a long time, that's loyal to you or, or believes in you, if you have this constant change, you know it doesn't, like, he has no loyalty to me. So his job was to come in and change the team. I didn't give a reason that I should be there and you move on. But, you know you didn't have that like, GM that drafted you or had seen you play for years. And it was just like, you know, this is a rut you can get out of it, I know, I know what kind of goalie is, you know with that constant turnover, you know, Mat T, he had no loyalty to me. I didn't give him a reason to be loyal to me either, like I said, problem number one was that I didn't stop the puck so, that's where it all started. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:07:55] So I wanted to ask you a little bit about, you're on the long list for the Olympics, Devan. Have you been given an indication that you, will you be playing for Canada at the Olympic Games, assuming everything goes as normal here. As normal as can be, I guess? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:08:10] I hope so. You know, they haven't given me any, any sort of direct confirmation that I will be on the short list. But I'm basically told that, you know, I went through the process to be put on the long list so that I could continue to be eligible. And that's kind of where we're at now, and then obviously, you know, I was finding a place to play so that I was prepared if I had the opportunity so, you know, I haven't been told anything. I know the guys from Hockey Canada, known them for a long time so the dialogue's there, but there hasn't been anything specifically telling me that I'm going for sure, I'm just gonna do my best to prepare and, you know, I want to be able to to perform. You know it sounds silly, but that's a big part of it too. It's an absolute honour to, to have an opportunity to go over there so. Right now I'm just trying to concentrate on making sure that if I do get the chance to go over there, that I'm ready to contribute because I obviously haven't played a lot of hockey this year. 

Jeff Marek [00:09:06] You know, right now with the Charlotte Checkers, I'm wondering about the last couple of months as well and at what point you thought, maybe I need to, you know, maybe I've got a shot at Team Canada here if the NHLers don't go like, was this in the back of your mind the last few months or is this really sudden and quick for you? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:09:23] No, honestly, it's, it's sudden. It's, the last couple of months has just been complete whirlwind, you know, going from getting the call and asking if I would, if I would be interested in playing in Spangler Cup and I played in Spangler twice in the past and I mean, it's just one of my favourite memories, both the tournaments. Like Davos is beautiful, the tournament is, it's such a cool experience. So when I got that call, I was like, yeah, that sounds awesome. And then the next step was finding a place to skate, which I was fortunate enough to, University of St. Thomas let me come out and practise with them, but that wasn't really much, I mean, they already have three goalies, there was four goalies out there and I didn't wanna get in the way of the guys day before game kind of thing. So I wasn't getting a lot of work and, and then the opportunity with Charlotte came up, so I jumped on that. I came down here. Absolutely loved the time. Awesome group of guys. City's beautiful. Kind of blew me away. I didn't, didn't really know what to expect. I'm going to play in the American League, but we had a blast. You know, I've got a couple of games in, was ready to go to Spangler, and the day I was supposed to go back to Minnesota to get ready to go to Switzerland, Canada pulled out. So that got cancelled. And then I was kind of like in limbo. At that point, I went home for Christmas, we were supposed to be going, we had this whole trip planned to Switzerland and we didn't really know what I was doing. I didn't have any post-Christmas hockey plans. It was kind of like everything was just lead to the Spangler and then, and then that was gonna be it. And then I don't know what point the NHL pulled out of, of the Olympics, but it's kind of sitting at home and then, you know, got the call about being on the long list for the Olympics and then it was kind of the same cycle happened all over again. It was like, well, shoot, I gotta find somewhere to play now and get prepared and, you know, with the taxi squads and everything going on, the opportunity kind of came up here again and they were happy to have me back so, this is where I'm at now, trying to get, get the game in order. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:11:27] Now, in the offseason this year, did you have, did you have many NHL opportunities? What kind of was your offseason like? What did you, did you think that you'd be somewhere in the big league this year? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:11:39] I did. I really did. You know, I was surprised just at there being basically no offers. You know, I was thinking about it later kind of saying, you know, it'd be different if I had a couple of early offers for, for a minimum or whatever, and then I said no to them because I thought I was gonna get more. And then, you know, spots filled up and you can kind of look at yourself and say, well, it was your own fault for saying no in the first place but I mean, I literally got nothing. Not a single offer. So that was kind of surprising to me. But you know, what are you, what are you going to do? 

Jeff Marek [00:12:16] We thought Buffalo, that was what we heard, that there was interest from the Buffalo Sabres. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:12:20] There was interest for quite a short period of time. And, you know, I never would, I say that, I mean, like a couple of hours. And then they signed Anderson and then Dell before there was ever any sort of formal anything. 

Jeff Marek [00:12:35] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:12:37] So I was wondering, like, did you think this was gonna be it? Was there a point when you like, you've got a big family? Did you think that maybe you're at a point where unfortunately you're gonna have to retire or something? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:12:50] Honestly, I just especially after last year, I mean, my, there wasn't a lot, as I say this, I'm sitting in a hotel in downtown Hartford, but I was gonna say there wasn't a, you know, I wasn't going to go away from them. I didn't want to, you know, last year was awful. I saw my wife and kids for sixteen days between December 26th and whenever, June, whenever we were out of the playoffs. And so I just wasn't gonna do that again. You know, I wasn't going to wait and go off somewhere and try to make the team, but not bring the family. But again, I mean, I say all this, but now the opportunities, there wasn't even an ask, so it didn't matter.

Elliotte Friedman [00:13:27] Mhm. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:13:27] But I mean, yeah, like come November, it was who I didn't really have a lot of reason to think otherwise at that point. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:13:33] You know, it's such an interesting thing like, you know. You know, Devan, here you are, you're 35 years old. And one thing I've learnt about elite level athletes and NHL players is, you play until someone drags you off the ice and says, you can't do it anymore. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:13:50] Yup. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:13:50] And I'm wondering what you're sitting there, you're thinking on one hand, you wanna be with your family. And on the other hand, you're thinking, I may not have a lot of time left like, that push and pull, especially now with what we're dealing with with COVID, it must have been so intense and, what were your conversations like with your family as you decided you wanted to try this again? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:14:12] Well, I mean, my wife, Jen has just been like she, she's funny cause she's the one like, obviously, you gotta do it like, so I get, my agent calls me and mentions the opportunity to come to Charlotte for a couple of weeks. And I'm like, yeah, you know, sounds like a good idea, especially kind of perfect scenario for Spangler Cup. Let me just call Jen and let her know before I say yes. So I call her and I'm like, hey, you know, Charlotte called and Florida called and said, I can go to Charlotte, and she goes, okay so when are you leaving? And I was like, oh.  So, so you're cool with it. And she was like, of course, why wouldn't you go? You know, like same thing with, when the Spangler came up and, you know, the Olympics and like, she's always just like, well, yeah, of course you're doing it like, as long as you want to like, she always says, as long as you want to do it, then do it, we'll be fine. And it's weird coming back too, you know, you have a couple of days, especially the first few times on the ice where you're just like, you know, I got on the ice when everybody left for camp, you stop skating because there's no one to skate with. So when I get the call for Spangler and I go out with the university team, St. Thomas. You know, you get out there and it's like, I mean, everybody knows when you, when you get off for a bit, it feels kind of foreign, but you know, one day is okay. And especially when you're coming back from a long delay, it's like one day is good, one day is bad, one is good. And then it kind of all starts to slide in. But your day is kind of, some days you're like, oh yeah, I got it. And then some days you're like, oh my god, my brain is not connected to my body right now. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:44] You know, let me, let me pick up that. I am curious. When you're off that long. What's the toughest thing to get back in your game like, what's the one thing that's like, awgh! 

Devan Dubnyk [00:15:55] It's the patience off of like, reads off of the stick, like the shots? 

Jeff Marek [00:16:00] Okay? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:16:00] And it's because it's such a fast--it's, it's a split second. The difference between like dropping, leaving your blades to go into a butterfly before the puck leaves a stick or after, and you think about how short amount of time that is. 

Jeff Marek [00:16:13] Wow. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:16:14] The difference? But the difference is if you're holding your edges until after the puck leaves the stick, it means you're like dropping into the save, so you're going into the butterfly, toward the puck or wherever it's going. If you're dropping before the puck leaves a stick then you're essentially going into a butterfly and then reacting out away from it, which, you're gonna be chasing it. It's always been that way. It's one of the most difficult things to just get back that patience of, of holding and reacting to the shot, not that split second before, and it's night and day. 

Jeff Marek [00:16:45] Have you tried any of the virtual reality training? Have you done any of that before? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:16:48] I talked to Kevin Woodley out in Vancouver-- 

Jeff Marek [00:16:51] Yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:16:52] --about that. And he was, he was gonna try to get me set up, I never ended up getting it, but I was very interested in it for myself, and then I was selfishly thinking my kids were gonna love this thing like, they stick these guys in this thing and have Shea Weber ripping clappers out at me and see what I'm looking at. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:13] Yeah, the group I think that Woodley's tied in with is called Sense Arena. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:17:16] Yes, that's the one, yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:16] That's the same one? Yeah.

Devan Dubnyk [00:17:18] I really wanna check it out because my kids have a VR and I mean, I've, I go in it just to see what they're doing, and it's pretty crazy. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:26] Yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:17:27] Like, these are obviously made up worlds in there. But I mean, it'd be cool to see how close it was to the real thing. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:35] Well, I know there's some goaltenders have used it as part of the rehab, specifically concussion rehab. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:17:40] Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:40] Where you're not out there facing the shots, but it's that simulated practise, that simulated game, like it's a great-- 

Devan Dubnyk [00:17:47] Right. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:48] Not just a great tool to stay sharp, but also a great recovery tool as well. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:17:52] For sure when you get, you can work on the eyes and brain as well tracking without, you know, having that feeling like you might take one in the face again. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:00] Hey, speaking of which, you mentioned Shea Weber, and he's the, he's the obvious one, but I know that goaltenders are well-protected. But when you're playing in the NHL, whose shot did you just cringe like, oh no, here it comes again. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:18:14] Sheldon Souray is the hardest shot I've ever seen in my life. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:16] Oh boy. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:18:17] Like, I can't even describe this and I mean, it was also my first callup in the NHL so obviously everyone's shot seems-- 

Elliotte Friedman [00:18:24] Really hard? Yeah.

Devan Dubnyk [00:18:25] Super hard. But this is like, this is outrageous. The best part about it is like, I never touched it, and he never hurt me with it because it just went in. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:33] Hmm. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:18:33] He was hilarious. He'd come in. I remember his first practise he takes, he had three shots. He had the quarter-half and full slapshot. That was it. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:40] Mhm. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:18:41] There was no like, no wrist shot, no like, toe pull. It was just quarter-half and full. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:18:47] So I have a story I remember. I had a friend who played pickup and he wanted to try goal, like he tried goal later in life. And he actually became a pretty good beer league goalie. But the dumbest thing he told me ever did was, there was a guy in beer league who had a great shot and he wouldn't take it in those games, he said, it's not right for me to shoot this when we're playing for fun. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:19:11] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:19:11] If it's a meaningful game, I'll do it. And he goes, the guy, I wanna face your slapshot. And he said, no, I'm not doing it. And my buddy taunted him enough. 

Jeff Marek [00:19:20] Oh no. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:19:21] That the guy said, okay, I'll do it. And he blasted off him, and he got hurt. I don't think he broke his collarbone, but he injured it and he told me. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:19:31] He taunted him enough that he took a slapshot at his neck? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:19:35] Yeah. And he--so he said, I learnt my lesson, don't do that again. So the question I have for you is, did you ever say to Souray, wind that thing up? I wanna see it. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:19:45] Not a chance. I remember the first, first practise I got out there when I got called up with them and I mean, I was in training camp, but I never really saw it the same way. And I remember what really comes down. It's the top of the circle and I hear him. He goes, sorry, Duber! And he does this like, quarter clapper, this, this thing blew by me before my brain could even like register to move my hand like before before I could comprehend that the puck was coming at me it was in the net, and I was like, oh, god, is that what this is, is that what it is up here? Because I'm a long way off if that's the case like, that thing came in a hurry. 

Jeff Marek [00:20:27] Okay, I'm gonna go on a little fishing trip here with you. I'm curious because the last time I talked to Woodley, we had a conversation about the smell of burning pucks off a mask. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:20:39] Yup. 

Jeff Marek [00:20:39] When it hits you, and some goalies will say, yeah, that's definitely a thing. Do you know what I'm talking about? Like, has that been a thing for you? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:20:46] Yeah. Oh, it's definitely a thing. 

Jeff Marek [00:20:48] Can you explain it? Like that phenomenon? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:20:51] Yeah, it smells like burning rubber, and it like it's a very blatant smell. I think it just depends how the puck hits you. 

Jeff Marek [00:20:58] Mhm. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:20:58] I think if it hits you square on, you don't really get it. If it kind of ricochets, obviously you get that burning rubber because it's actual burning rubber, probably off of your helmet. But yeah, it's a, that's definitely a real thing. It's. You can smell it. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:13] You remember the first time you smelled that like, what level of hockey area are you noticing that? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:21:17] Oh, I can't remember exactly when I would have smelled that I would say that it probably wasn't until junior like, WHL. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:26] Yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:21:26] That pucks started actually hurting when you got hit in the head. Before that, it was like, whatever. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:32] Devan when you agreed to do this interview, did you think that you'd be asked about the smell of pucks off a mask? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:21:39] That was exactly, that was. I was talking to my wife and I was like, yeah, I gotta go talk about burning pucks, I'll call you back.

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:44] I'm just curious like, did you prepare for this in advance? 

Jeff Marek [00:21:47] When you woke up this morning? Do you think you'd be talking about the smell of pucks? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:21:51] Yeah, oh I did. I was staring in my mirror trying to rehearse how to talk to you guys so. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:22:01] So what I wanted to ask you was, one of my favourite moments from last season, St. Louis-San Jose. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:22:09] Yup. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:22:10] And you're a competitive, ornery guy. And Jordan Binnington's a competitive, ornery guy. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:22:15] Oh yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:22:15] And you guys skated at each other and it looked like you both wanted to go. 

Broadcast clip [00:22:21] [Broadcast commentary of St. Louis-San Jose game, Devan Dubnyk and Jordan Binnington near-fight.]

Elliotte Friedman [00:23:06] What happened and who would have won? 

Broadcast clip [00:23:10] [Broadcast commentary: "Unsportsmanlike conduct, I believe, was just given to Binnington, and that will put the Sharks on a powerplay here." 

[00:23:17] "And here's where Binnington takes a swat right there at Karlsson, and I'm not sure he's just upset getting pulled, now he's talking to Dubnyk as he's going off. I'm not sure I'd want to tussle with Devan Dubnyk with the size of him, that's probably why Binnington heads for the shower. [unclear] That's where they sit as you mentioned Randy but. Right, unsportsmanlike conduct two-minute penalty there for the goaltender."] 

Devan Dubnyk [00:23:42] So, you're gonna get me in trouble here. So we scored and he obviously wasn't having a great game and they pulled him and I wasn't really paying attention it's like they pulled him, you know, it takes a bit. So I just was just kind of twirling around my end like not really paying attention, looking at all the fans in the stands, staring, staring at all the empty seats. And then all of a sudden, you know, I look up and he's shoving with Simec at the bench, and I'm kind of laughing to myself like, I know he's got a temper and you know what I can respect that, I used to have a major temper when I was young. Don't have enough energy for that anymore, but I can tip my cap to a good like, slap show once in a while. So but the thing that bothered me, so I watched that and I was kind of laughing, you know, he took a penalty. I'm like, perfect, we got a powerplay. And when he was skating off and he fake punched Karlsson, and I didn't know that he just like fake punched him, I thought he like shoved him. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:24:44] Hmm. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:24:45] That's kind of what pissed me off. So I went over to say something to him and I mean, his wires had crossed out and there was nobody home there.

Broadcast clip [00:24:53] ["And showing some feistiness as he always does. And now he's going to go over Devan Dubnyk here we go!"] 

Devan Dubnyk [00:24:57] But as I went over to him, he kind of like wound up and he tried to like, I saw him, he was gonna like, slash me in the back of the leg. 

Broadcast clip [00:25:04] ["So a fired up Binnington."] 

Devan Dubnyk [00:25:06] So I kind of like, tried to stop that and then kind of tried to throw a left. When I say throw a left, it was not really throwing a left, but I pushed him in the face but, um, but I was like, I thought we were gonna go. You know, I kind of like, stood there first for a second. But I mean, the thing is is there's like all four referees were following him off the ice because he just like chased everybody around. So plus and then he went straight off the ice. So there was no real possible way that it could have happened. I don't know. I mean, I'd like to pretend I would win the fight. Who knows? I mean, I, I think I weigh 100 pounds more than he does and hello, significantly taller. So maybe I'll just, I think I could sit on him and be like a UFC. 

Jeff Marek [00:25:50] I think full mount. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:25:52] Like I can get full mount on him. 

Jeff Marek [00:25:54] I think it seems like he's been itching for one for years now. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:25:59] Yup. 

Jeff Marek [00:25:59] And so we're all just we're like, is this ever gonna happen for Jordan Binnington? Like we, can we just prearranged one?

Devan Dubnyk [00:26:05] Just just be careful what you wish for that's all I'll say. It's not like, this is, we're not talking about Robin Lehner wishing for a fight like we know. We know, we know Lehner wants a fight because he's gonna beat the brakes off of whoever he accepts but, we're not talking about that here so, just be careful what you wish for. 

Jeff Marek [00:26:23] Well, that is an interesting question like amongst, like we see some of the, obviously Robin Lehner's an obvious one and Mike Smith is an obvious one. But amongst the goaltenders is they're sort of a consensus like top three or top five like, you know, okay, so who's the toughest here? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:26:38] Lehner's, I was making a joke but I'm like, if I ever pissed off Lehner enough that he was gonna chase me around, I'd go young blood on him and just like, stick my stick in his face like, I'm not, I'm not going down that road. You know, I wasn't blessed with great looks but I don't need to, like, hurt myself even more in that category. I gotta give myself a chance, but I mean, he's one of the, it's funny like, I always like to look back at the Felix Potvin-Ron Hextall fight. 

Jeff Marek [00:27:07] Oh yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:27:07] Oh yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:27:08] You're not taking any away from Ron Hextall I mean, the guy was tough as nails but when he went into Potvin, you're thinking like, this guy is gonna murder him. Like, it's Ron Hextall. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:27:18] Yup. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:27:19] And then you're like, whoa, all of a sudden, Felix is chucking him! 

Jeff Marek [00:27:23] Yeah. 

Broadcast clip [00:27:25] [Play-by-play of Felix Potvin and Ron Hextall's fight.] 

Devan Dubnyk [00:28:23] The biggest thing, if you're gonna get into a fight is that like, whoever's more pissed off is gonna win, unless it's Robin Lehner, he could be not pissed off, he's gonna beat you up but, it's like that aggression, you know, I think that's a big part of it is you can't go into a fight and not wanna like, if one guy wants to hurt the other guy and the other guy doesn't really care, then it doesn't really matter who's who. 

Jeff Marek [00:28:45] I think in that rink that day of the Potvin-Hextall fight, there were two people that knew that Potvin could really handle himself. One was Felix Potvin, and the other was Pat Burns. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:28:56] Oh yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:28:56] And Pat Burns, like Burns has background with, you know, the police in Quebec and a Potvin was, you know, Potvin kind of ran with a-- 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:05] Grew up in a tough crowd. Yup.

Jeff Marek [00:29:06] He did. He ran with a tough crowd. And I remember, you know, the story was always like, Burns was like, this is not gonna end the way you guys think it's going to end, watch this. And Potvin just unloaded. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:29:18] Unreal like, I love watching that because he was he was one of my favourite goalies when I was--that was before I was a goalie. But I remember writing a school project, writing a letter to Felix Potvin asking for an autograph. 

Jeff Marek [00:29:34] Hmm! Really? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:35] Yeah. Did he send it? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:29:37] Yeah, I go on back, I got a signed picture of Felix Potvin! 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:40] That's awesome. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:29:41] Yeah. So I always, I always think of that, you know when I'm trying to do you know, fan mail or, you know, it piles up and I always tell myself to just make sure eventually get back to it because I always think of that. Felix Potvin sent me a picture, and I and I like, I didn't send him anything. I just wrote a letter as a kid. And I mean, like, to be honest, he probably had stuff signed instead of waiting for that stuff, but just the fact that like, I'll never forget that because I'm like-- 

Jeff Marek [00:30:11] Yeah, that's huge!

Devan Dubnyk [00:30:12] Remember, when you were a kid, he sent you a picture, signed. So make sure you eventually take the time, like, get all the stuff out so, yeah, that was really cool. And I mean, hands down like best head to toe style. 

Jeff Marek [00:30:24] It was pretty cool. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:30:25] Like, unbelievable to have. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:28] That's great that he did that for you though. That's, that's fantastic. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:30:31] Yeah, it was. It was incredible. I had that on my, my bulletin board. That was when I had a bulletin board in my my room as a kid. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:40] And you never got the chance to play against him eh? He was gone by then. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:30:43] No, no. Yeah, he was. He was gone. 

Jeff Marek [00:30:45] So I remember the last time I talked to Felix Potvin we had a conversation about playing baseball. And he said, the goaltenders now, you can tell they didn't play baseball by how they catch a puck. He said goaltenders just put their glove in front of the puck now, but nobody really catches it. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:31:01] Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:31:02] He said, I take all my goaltenders and I throw baseballs and we play catch because I wanna teach goaltenders how to how to catch a puck properly he goes, goaltenders don't do that anymore, they just stick their glove in front of the puck. You kind of know what he's getting out there?

Devan Dubnyk [00:31:14] Yeah. Well, yeah, you look at it is a lot of, I want to see like, kind of like stabbing at it. 

Jeff Marek [00:31:19] Yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:31:20] It doesn't necessarily mean that, you know, I mean, he had some pretty fantastic windmill glove saves so might it might be an in-between of the two, but I know exactly what he's saying like there's... You know, you can see and guys do have their hands way out in front, but it's kind of that that like stabbing at the puck rather than, you know, letting it come in and catching it.

Jeff Marek [00:31:43] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:31:43] Your first NHL game was 15 years ago. I was looking at that today. What's the biggest difference between being one of the youngest guys in the American Hockey League to now being one of the real veterans in the American Hockey League? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:32:00] Ah, the way my body feels? Though, you know what's hilarious. So I'll give you a guess, though you probably won't guess. But there's one thing in common with those two games, the one that I played 15 years ago and then the one that I played here. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:18] Was somebody in the game or was it in the same building? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:32:21] Somebody who was in the organisation yes. 

Jeff Marek [00:32:25] Whoa. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:32:26] Dan Bylsma was my assistant coach in both scenarios. 

Jeff Marek [00:32:29] Oh, no way. Yep. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:32] Wow. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:32:33] 15 years ago in Wilkes-Barre, he was the assistant coach. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:37] That's unbelievable. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:32:38] He's the assistant coach here now. Yeah, we were laughing about it when I first came here. 

Jeff Marek [00:32:42] Okay, you know what? I'm gonna ask you something about the coaches and assistant coaches in either the American Hockey League or in the NHL. If you're comfortable naming names, go for it, or more specifically, I'm just looking for it, have you experienced this phenomenon? So I've talked to a couple of goalies about it, and they've sort of joked about this. Have you ever been in practise and had one of your coaches take a shot on you and you said to yourself, you played in the show? With that shot? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:33:09] Yeah. But, but, you know, you gotta remind yourself that they probably didn't look like that when they played the show so. You gotta give them a little bit of a break.

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:23] I just wonder if the shot ever--I never thought this shot would leave. Maybe it does. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:33:27] Let's be honest--you're talking about like older coaches that are superstitious. I don't think any coach is coming in and ripping one on their goaltender. Probably. Like. 

Jeff Marek [00:33:36] Yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:33:36] Just a little bit, a little bit worried about hitting them with it. But this is funny, too so, I don't know if I ever told you guys this, but another roundabout coaching story when I was 15, when I got called up in Kamloops as a, so you get drafted at 14 and then. I was playing Bantam Triple A and I went up to Kamloops as an emergency callup and Dean Evason was the head coach in Kamloops. I never played. So every day after practise, just a super intense 3-on-3 game with the coaches against the players that basically never played, the young guys that like, never played and it was, and me. Dean was flying back then. 

Jeff Marek [00:34:18] Hmm. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:34:18] Like still and he, and I mean, he could rip the puck still. And again, another roundabout, Dean gets hired and come into training camp and I don't know, however many years later that was probably yeah, it would have been 15, 16, 17 years after that, you know, as my assistant coach and then head coach eventually. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:39] Now, Dean was a tough player. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:34:41] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:42] He wasn't the biggest guy, so he had to play-- 

Jeff Marek [00:34:45] He was intense, man. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:34:46] Oh he was intense. Those 3-on-3 games? Yeah, he was intense in these 3-on-3 games. Like, I didn't know what to do. It was like, do I let him...? 

Jeff Marek [00:34:54] I don't think he's ever played a soft game of hockey in his life. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:34:57] No. 

Jeff Marek [00:34:58] Not like, never, ever.

Devan Dubnyk [00:35:00] No, I didn't, I didn't know what to do. First of all, I mean, he could still shoot and he was flying around but I'm like, I was scared if the players won the game, I thought he was gonna kill me. But then I also didn't wanna, like, let him score because I wanted him to think I was good. So I was like, in this dilemma, every time we played 3-on-3 and you're like, I don't want to let him score because I want him to think I'm a good goalie if the players win he might kill me so, I don't know. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:35:31] Now, are you surprised at all at Vancouver's success under Bruce? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:35:35] I wouldn't say surpri--I mean, am I suprised they're, I don't even know what they are now, like 8-0 or...? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:35:41] One overtime loss. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:35:42] Yeah. I mean, to that degree, yes, but, no I think, you know, they had some success at the start of the year, and I think it's one of those things, sometimes a new voice I mean, Bruce has been successful everywhere he's went. He obviously, you know, there's good things but a lot of times it's just, it's a weird phenomenon with hockey where you see that where a new guy will come in and, and for whatever reason, if it's just a new voice, if it's changed things up, if it's accountability, you know, for guys that you have, you know, new eyes on you, whatever it is. But like I said, am I surprised that they're, you know, 8-0-1 or whatever they are? Little bit, but you know, I'm not surprised that he's, he's having success there at all. 

Jeff Marek [00:36:27] How much was Bruce--or maybe he wasn't at all, but you know, Bob Mason's your goaltending coach when you were at the Minnesota Wild, he was part of one of the great goaltending duels of all time back in '87 with Kelly Hrudey in the Easter Epic but how much did Bruce Boudreau deal with the goaltenders when he was with the guys in Minnesota? 

Devan Dubnyk [00:36:46] Not much, he would do mostly his talking through Bobby. He always would say that he doesn't know anything about goaltending, but then he'd tell you if he didn't like the way you played. So this is interesting. Interesting way to go about it but no, I mean, you know, I like I always say, Bruce, he could be hard on goalies. You know, he's he expects a lot out of you, which is fine. But I always say, I mean, I'm always forever grateful to, you know, he played me a ridiculous amount of hockey games and it was an awesome part of my career so, you know, whenever I'm joking about that stuff, I always appreciate that. And but he, he was, he was most of the talking to us through Bobby. I've had coaches in the past who like, just don't even talk to you. It certainly wasn't that case. I mean, he was fine. He just wasn't gonna get into it with you too much about what you were doing unless you were doing it well. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:45] All right. Here's my last question Devan, have you called Eric Staal and said, if I'm coming back to play in the Olympics, you are too.

Devan Dubnyk [00:37:54] Hmm. Interestingly enough, we've had that conversation, we have. So I've talked to him a couple of times about it and that was the first thing when I, when I went on the long list that's the first thing I thought about because I know he's, he's kind of been skating a little bit. And I mean, you know, he doesn't have to skate much he's in good shape and obviously knows how to play the game but when it came up, I called him. I didn't know if he was on the list or not. I called him to ask and so I think it'd be a blast. I think it'd be awesome for that team too if he's able to do it. But who knows? I mean, he's gotta wanna do it, which I think he does. I mean, but technically the guy's won everything. Like, you can't blame the guy if he doesn't wanna go, you know, I mean, it's in China. It's a long way away. It's, you know, it's obviously all the, all the protocols and stuff if he doesn't, he doesn't wanna go you can't blame him like he's won the Olympics. He's won the Stanley Cup, he's won the World Championships, like what? But I'd love it if he'd come. 

Jeff Marek [00:38:58] It would be really cool to see Eric Staal there. It'd be really cool to see you there as well. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:39:01] And he can still play. 

Jeff Marek [00:39:02] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:03] Oh yeah. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:39:03] I can promise you that. 

Jeff Marek [00:39:04] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:05] Mhm. 

Devan Dubnyk [00:39:05] I skated with him a little bit in the summer and he's still got it, it's just whether or not he wants to do it, but he's definitely still got it. 

Jeff Marek [00:39:12] Well, listen, it would be great to see both you guys there. Thanks so much for doing this. Much appreciated. Best of luck the rest of the way you know, both with, you know, Hockey Canada and with, with the Checkers. Thanks. Thanks so much for doing this. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:22] Thanks a lot, Devan. Really appreciate it.

Devan Dubnyk [00:39:24] Awesome. Thanks for having me guys. It was fun. 

[00:39:26] [Break.] 

Jeff Marek [00:39:36] Okay, Elliotte, that was a lot of fun talking to Devan Dubnyk. We thank Devan for his time, wish him all the best with Hockey Canada. Wanna thank the Charlotte Checkers for making him available. Paul Branecky and T.J. Chillot specifically. Taking us out today, a band that got their start almost accidentally. One night, Joe Perez Christiansen texted Cameron Kinghorn some jams he recorded on his tape machine. Cameron replied back with a, what is this, I want in. A few minutes later, Joe created the loop for their first single and they wrote the song on the spot in his northeast Minneapolis bedroom. From their debut album Merry, here's King Pari with Snowday on 32 Thoughts the Podcast. 

 [00:41:52] [Outtro music. End.]