Zajac happy to be living ‘dream’

Travis Zajac had a look of a man who could not believe his good fortune.
 
“It’s pretty wild. Obviously a dream come true. Growing up you want to play in the Stanley Cup final [and now the Devils] have that chance. Sometimes you got to pinch yourself,” Zajac said Tuesday during his media availability during the media session at the Prudential Center
 
That is especially so when your dream started out as a nightmare. Zajac missed most of the year after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon during off-season workouts. He returned for eight games between Dec. 16 and Jan. 2 before being shut down for all but the final seven games of the regular due to soreness.
 
“It’s been a long year,” Zajac said. “I kind of knew something was wrong. It [was] disappointing having the surgery, missing training camp and the first part of the season. Obviously coming back didn’t work out; kind of had a little bit of a setback. That was a roller-coaster ride.”
 
Zajac and the Devils convened with his doctors during his second recuperative period and formulated a plan centered around the top-line center returning for the playoffs.
 
“Just see where it goes, not push anything and make sure we get it right this time,” Zajac said. “We kind of [shot] for coming back before the [end of the regular season] and get myself into shape.”
 
Players claim that they can glean information while watching games from home or from the press box. Zajac studied the game during his convalescence.
 
“The game looks a lot easier from up there. That’s for sure,” Zajac joked. “You watch [and] you see things. But as soon as you get on the ice, that all changes. There’s a lot less time when you get back in the games.”
 
Zajac made his re-debut in the 5-2 loss to the Penguins on March 25. That game was the last loss of the regular season as the Devils finished 6-1 in their final seven games.
 
“Once Travis got back [it] really gave our team a lot of depth,” Devils captain Zach Parise said. “Once he got comfortable playing again, we strung together I think six or seven in a row at the end of the season.  
 
Added Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello: “Travis Zajac, we can’t sidestep what his value is [with] him being in the lineup.”
 
The Panthers, Flyers and Rangers may agree with the assessments offered by Parise and Lamoriello. Zajac is third on the team in scoring with 12 points (seven goals and five assists) in the Devils’ 18 playoff games. He has scored two game-winning goals, including the overtime winner in the Devils’ 3-2 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the No. 3-seed Panthers.
 
Those teams are home watching Zajac and the Devils in the final. Lucky guy.

Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman for all your news on the Stanley Cup finals.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mugger uses chokeholds in Central Park attacks: NYPD

Cops are searching for a Manhattan mugging suspect tied to at least two attacks near Central Park this week.

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

By Rich MckayABIDJAN (Reuters) - An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged…

News

Ditka calls Redskins team name critics 'politically correct…

Mike Ditka, the 74-year-old 11-season coach of the Chicago Bears and 3-season coach of the New Orleans Saints, may be endangering his position as an…

National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

Television

TV watch list, Thursday, Aug. 21: 'Simpsons,' 'Simpsons'…

It's time to change the channel to FXX, and then never change it again, as you watch all the "Simpsons" episodes you can handle.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…