LET’S GO, THE NHL SEASON IS BACK. The Rangers don’t play tonight so I figured I would toss a blog up here. I thought man I could do a season preview, I could do a break down of rookies, or I could do an analysis of why Marc Staal is scum on Earth. However, after some long thought, there’s nothing better to write about other than my best friend (self-proclaimed) Mats Zuccarello.
It has been a long time since the New York Rangers have had a fan favorite like this guy. I’m 5’8 180 pounds so it’s easy to identify with someone of a similar stature. He has more skill, more creativity, and more heart than arguably any other player in the NHL. I was once told that the reason Mats uses a wicked long stick was because when he was a kid, his coaches were bag skating him and his team and the longer stick would help him get to the boards faster so he wouldn’t have to skate as much. GENIUS absolute genius. If you’ve seen his Beginnings on MSG he’s a huge mommas boy, much like I am, and a kid at heart. He is Norways Lebron James.. seriously. He is one of the biggest celebrities and always does his best to give back to charity. Every year Mats hosts the Zuccarello All Star Game over in Norway and tons of current and ex NHLers go over to help out the cause. This upcoming year, Zucc and Lundqvist will be hosting an Outdoor charity game. Remember, not all heroes wear capes. It has been a lot of fun watching him play for the boys in blue throughout the last several years so without further adue, these are my top 5 Zuccarello moments!
First NHL Goal
I’ll never forget watching this game. When Zucc came over to the Rangers there was some hype to him and his game. Big players produce in big spots. I mean, look at this shot. Short side, from the goal line, upstairs, HARD. The creativity and cockiness to execute on that shot like that in one of your first games is unreal. Check out this move in his first NHL game.
Not trying to sound like some sort of hardo, but I knew when he scored that goal that the Rangers had themselves quite the player.
Fight Against TJ Oshie
Okay, so maybe not a W, but talk about the balls it takes to fight someone that much bigger than you. Personally, I tend to run my mouth quite a bit but I also make friends with the biggest player on my team in case things pop off. Textbook definition of being smart. Although, the thing is, even though this is Zuccarellos only career fight, he will go with just about anyone. We’ve seen it time and time again. If a teammate or rookie gets fucked with who is always the first person there to give them a shot? You’re right, it’s Zucc. Now, I believe Zucc knows his teammates have his back and if someone gigantic were to haul off on him someone would third man in a heart beat. Still, you have to be carrying around a set to always be involved in the dirty areas of the ice.
Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award
Every year I get pretty emotional when this award is handed to a Ranger. The bravery, compassion, dedication and every positive sounding word depicts who Steven McDonald was. He was true blue and will always be a part of the New York Rangers family. This is why I love that Zuccarello owns this award pretty much every single year. Zucc goes above and beyond every single game. You never have to wonder what effort level or what type execution you’ll receive from Mats because you know every game it is 100%. This is the type of leader you need on an NHL team.
If you’re a goalie one of two things is going to happen to you.
- You end up looking like an idiot as Zucc doesn’t stick handle and lofts it up under the bar. There’s not much you can do because you have to respect the creativity and skill of Mats. So just stand there and look like you’re giving zero effort, I’m sure the boys on the bench really want to go to battle for you.
- You bite hard and wind up in the corner as your jock winds up in the 200s. You also might pull a groin and watching any video of this may lead to high blood pressure, irritability, depression, headaches, and seizures. If these side effects occur for longer than 4 hours please be sure to contact your doctor.
Zucc has been running clinics in the shootout ever since his very first game. For me, I love it because more likely than not he’ll bury and almost 100% of the time he will embarrass the other teams goalie like you’ve never seen before.
I was supposed to go to that game Zucc got hurt in. It was a game time decision and I decided to stay home to watch the game with my old man. It happened earlier in the game and even though the Rangers won in overtime, my old man and I just sat around the house very worried about 36. I, like most Rangers fans, were terrified about what happened. Not only did the Rangers loose one of there best players, but it was also career threatening. The guy couldn’t talk.. can you imagine that? Absolute Bananaland. Zucc ended up returning on the big screen a few games later but would be sidelined until the next year. I’m very thankful he’s alright and Hey Rangers Dman- how about we try to keep our shots down, eh? At the end of the day, Zucc is now healthy and will be relied heavily upon as the Rangers get ready for another quest at Lord Stanley.
If you’ve read this far you can see why I’d be best friends with this guy. There’d be no better feeling than seeing Zucc wear the A this year and I don’t think anybody can disagree. As Rangers fans, we should consider ourselves lucky that we have this little Norwegian zooming around the ice, stirring the pot and leaving us asking ourselves, “Yeah, but how did he do that?!” So Zucc, let me know when you want to hang out and drink some beers. Maybe play a game of Chel or maybe you can teach me how to do literally anything on the ice. Let me know and always remember, “Those aren’t Boos, those are Zuuc’s! For Zuccarello!”