A few thoughts on Zuccarello


As many of you already know, a recent podcast in Mats Zuccarello’s home country of Norway caused some white noise on social media. The English translation of a interview he did made it sound like he’s waiting for the Rangers to trade him. He also indicated how much he loves playing here.

However, there’s the likelihood that Zuccarello will be traded and become a rental for a playoff contender. If the controversial interview is to be believed, it’s something he would be open to. A change is probably best for the popular pint sized right wing with the giant sized heart.

The Rangers are committed to rebuilding by continuing to give younger prospects a chance. As many as six rookies have dressed including former 2017 first round picks Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. Both are learning on the job as regulars in their first full season. Other first-year players include Steven Fogarty, Tim Gettinger, Brett Howden and Alexandar Georgiev, who gets the start tomorrow night at Montreal.

In regards to Zuccarello, who’s led the team in scoring the past three years and four of the last five since ’13-14, the emotional 31-year old veteran has given everything to the Blueshirts. A classic overachiever, whose work ethic is unquestioned, it’s been a tough start to possibly his final season on Broadway. He’s only played in 17 games, totaling three goals and seven assists for ten points. A groin strain continues to plague him. He missed his ninth game last night with the team getting shutout 3-0 by Ottawa. He won’t play at Montreal.

For a prideful player who only missed nine combined games the past four years, it has to be extremely frustrating. He tried coming back twice in road losses to the Islanders and the Flyers. Perhaps Zuccarello rushed back due to what’s going on in the back of his mind. He earns $4.5 million in the final year of his contract. You know he wants to be 100 percent and play. There’s a lot on the line. Even if his future isn’t here, he’s playing for a contract.

Who knows what he’s thinking about? I think it does a classy player, who’s been a true professional, a incredible disservice by using the Norwegian story and taking it at its word. Zuccarello deserves better treatment than that. He shouldn’t have to go through a team spokesperson to deny the rumor, which convinced Post scribe Brett Cyrgalis to correct something in his story that appeared the other day.

I could’ve used the same information and done a post on it. But I didn’t feel comfortable. Maybe other bloggers enjoy that kinda banter for clicks. That’s not who I am or what I am about. I have never done it for those reasons. I blog because it’s my passion. I enjoy providing my thoughts on the Rangers and hockey.

Out of respect for the players, I don’t think it’s fair to use a translation from a interview that appeared in Europe. Especially during the season. I feel bad for Zuccarello. He has been a breath of fresh air. A huge part of the success here that led to a Stanley Cup Final appearance and a Conference Final with a serious injury almost ending his career, he’s been an inspirational team leader.

Whatever happens over the next three months, enjoy Zucc for what he’s continued to bring.

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About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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