Mats Zuccarello spoke with Dagbladet and once again said that he “belongs” to the Rangers and is only thinking about playing for them next season.
They note that with the limited amount of space the Rangers have under the salary cap Zuccarello could get a pay cut from what he made last season. Zuccarello had a cap hit of $700,000 last season after signing with the team in March.
Zuccarello said that he hasn’t yet spoken with Alain Vigneault but doesn’t expect to until he comes back to New York.
In terms of the Olympics, Zuccarello said that he doesn’t know if he will get to play for Norway but that he hopes he will.
Zuccarello has a endorsement deal with Unibet and the Norway Hockey Association has said that he isn’t available to play as long as he has an endorsement deal with a company other than the Norwegian Lottery, who sponsor the National team.
Zucc told John Giannone during his bench interivew on Wednesday that in addition to creating offense, he wants to “bang bodies” on the ice.
In seven games this season, Zuccarello has 16 hits.
Last season, in ten games, Zuccarello had eight hits.
In 2010-11, Zuccarello had 56 hits in 42 games.
Prior to last night’s win over the Maple Leafs John Tortorella was asked about Mats Zuccarello. Tortorella said that while Zuccarello has had chances and he is comfortable putting him in different situations on the ice, Zuccarello has to score, “It’s nice that we have seen it before but we gotta see it now.”
When asked during an interview during the Rangers pre game show, Zuccarello told John Giannone that he doesn’t feel any extra pressure to score and that he doesn’t care who does score as long as the team wins.
While Zuccarello had no shots on goal last night, he scored the only goal in last night’s shootout and helped the Rangers pick up a crucial second point.
After the game, John Tortorella said on MSG that Zuccarello played well and “he needed to do something and he did.”
Zuccarello was awarded the Broadway Hat after the game and told Katie Strang, at ESPN NY, that he had a good feeling when he saw the red light go on and that he was just happy to help the Rangers pick up two points.
Carl Hagelin told the NY Post that he saw Zuccarello perform that move in practice recently and added “he’s got great hands and great poise and is probably the best shootout player in the league.”
On the pre game show, Brian Leetch praised Zuccarello for not being a perimeter player and his willingness to go fight for opportunities that guys his size don’t normally do.
1:16PM: Zuccarello will have a chance to break the streak tomorrow as the team announced on twitter that he will be in the lineup tomorrow.
12:13PM: On twitter, Kenny Albert noted that Cary Price has a shutout streak of 192:45 at the Bell Centre against the Rangers.
The last Ranger to score against Price at the Bell Centre was Mats Zuccarello.
That goal was scored over two years ago on 1/15/11.
The last 3 games for Price at the Bell Centre against the Rangers have been:
- 3-0 2/23/13
- 4-0– 11/19/11
Zuccarello scored at 6:57 of the third period in that game.
Adam Rotter: Mats Zuccarello isn’t coming to the Rangers to be anything more than a role player who can hopefully create some offense and help in the shootout. He isn’t coming to be a savior or be the missing piece or anything like that. He is being brought in to try and help the power play, generate more offense and give the Rangers an advantage in the shootout since so many games appear to be headed that way. Expecting Zuccarello to do what Rick Nash or Marian Gaborik are supposed to do will only set yourself up for disappointment.
For more on what Zucc can do, CLICK HERE
2:05PM: Pat Leonard says in the Daily News that Zuccarello’s representatives will be in NY tomorrow and they may speak with Glen Sather about having Zuccarello return when his KHL season ends.
6:58AM: According to Larry Brooks in the NY Post, Glen Sather is planning to talk with Mats Zuccarello about returning to the Rangers after his season in the KHL ends.
Zuccarello signed a two-year deal with the KHL but it contains an NHL out clause. He left the Rangers as an RFA but the Rangers sent him a qualifying offer to retain his rights.
Sather said that he has always liked Zuccarello as a player and Zuccarello is apparently willing to explore the idea of returning to the NHL.
He has 11 goals and 17 assists in the KHL this season.
He has two goals and one assist in four playoff games this season.
Zuccarello played around 15 minutes a night in the regular season and nearly 20 minutes so far a night in the playoffs.
Brooks says that the key for Zuccarello to return would be for the Rangers to offer him a one-way contract for the 2013-14 season.
This is not the first that the idea of Zuccarello coming back this season has been mentioned.
In the first period Mats Zuccarello blocked a shot with his arm and went to the Rangers locker room.
Sam Rosen mentioned on MSG that Zuccarello fractured his wrist and is out indefinitely
Patrick Kane fractured his wrist last summer and needed surgery and six to eight weeks to recover.
9:59PM: On MSG, when asked about Zuccarello, Tortorella said “he’s out. He’s out indefinitely”
Last night Mats Zuccarello played over 13 minutes and scored the game winning goal for the Rangers on the power play.
After the game, John Tortorella said of Zucc,”he played a regular shift tonight, did some good things away from the puck, understood our forechecking and gave us some minutes right on through”
Zuccarello told Newsday, “I just want to show that I’ve learned. When you do stuff like that, the little things, you get more comfortable in the game. It’s a great feeling to be up here so I have to enjoy it while I can”
Following the the loss to the Avs, Tortorella said “He is helping the power play with a couple of chances. He has a bomb that hits the post. There is still some work as far as 5 on 5. He makes plays. He is around the puck and certainly with the man advantage he makes plays for us. So we’ll continue with him.”
John Mitchell told Ranger Rants that he was impressed with Zuccarello from their time in Hartford together, “When he’s got it, he gets it ready to make a play. With him being that small, he’s still easy to find (on the ice). He’s got a big stick. His stick is probably larger than mine. He makes good reads and smart plays.”
So far so good with Zucc. He has goals in back to back games and scored a big one on the PP last night. He is seeing his minutes increase and looks like he will have a spot in the lineup if he keeps this up. It’s only a small sample size, and he does need to keep it up, but I think that Zucc is making it known that he can be an NHL player.
Mats Zuccarello plays in his third straight game tonight for the Rangers as they battle the Penguins.
In his two games so far, Zucc has averaged about 11 minutes, has an assist, two total shots and two hits.
John Tortorella said after the Hurricanes game,”Zucc adds creativity. One of the better passers we have on the team. He is going to help our power play. If he continues to just learn the 5 on 5 part and be able to handle some of the small parts of the ice as far as protecting pucks, he can help us. He brings a lot of things that we need. We gave him a lot of 5 on 5 time, took a stupid penalty, but you can see that he is progressing.”