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Nikita Zadorov has plenty of jokes, but his focus is on winning a Stanley Cup with the Bruins

BOSTON -- Nikita Zadorov signed with the Boston Bruins this offseason in hopes of winning a Stanley Cup. But there was a downside to joining an Original Six team, as the blue liner explained Monday in Boston.

Zadorov proudly held up his new Boston sweater next to Bruins GM Don Sweeney, even if the No. 91 on the back of it isn't the number he would have preferred. 

"Upside down 16," he joked. "It's the worst part of playing for an Original Six team because a lot of the numbers are retired."

An 11-year NHL veteran, Zadorov had worn the No. 16 for as long as he could remember. But the run ended last season when he had to switch from 16 to 91 when he was traded from Calgary to Vancouver. (The Canucks retired No. 16 for Trevor Linden, who played 16 of his 19 NHL seasons in Vancouver.)

Signing in Boston this offseason meant that Zadorov would have to stick with that digit change, since the No. 16 hangs in the TD Garden rafters for Rick Middleton. At least going with No. 91 in Boston reconnected Zadorov with a former coach of his in Marc Savard, the former Bruins playmaker who was an assistant in Calgary during Zadorov's stint with the Flames.

"I've got to text Savvy that I stole his number," Zadorov joked on Monday.

The 6-foot-6, 248-pound Zadorov will bring some bulk (and big hits) to the Boston defense, but he was all smiles and had plenty of jokes during his chat with reporters on Monday. He had fun recalling his first career goal, which came against the Bruins in 2013. He'll be sure to remind Bruins captain Brad Marchand of that tally when they cross paths in the Boston dressing room.

"He took a minus," Zadorov recalls of the play.

Maybe Marchand will be able to help the newest Bruins defenseman with a bit of a geography lesson, though that should come as the 29-year-old and his family search for a place. Zadorov and his family arrived in town on Saturday night, and enjoyed a nice bite to eat in one of the most famous sections of Boston.

"We went to the West End yesterday, right? Italian neighborhood," said Zadorov.

He's learning.

"Sorry! North End," he replied. "I had really good pasta. I hope I'm not going to go there many times because it's super heavy. But super good." 

Zadorov has six years to get a full grasp of Boston, but already knows that it's a passionate and demanding sports town. He's award that will bring plenty of added pressure, but that's part of what made Boston so appealing to Zadorov.

"I feel like this city is so culturally engaged into its sports. You look at all four teams and they've all been winning championships, and fans expect you to win every year. I like that and I like the pressure," he said. 

"That is the main focus and why I signed here, I want my best chance to win a championship," added Zadorov. "I'm really putting all my heart in what I do. I'm here for six years, and I will put my heart into being a Bruin and trying to win the Stanley Cup here."

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