07 Nov Getting to Know N.Y. Rangers Winger Mats Zuccarello
Name: Mats André Zuccarello Aasen
Born: September 1, 1987 (age 31) in
Height: 5 ft 7 in
Weight: 179 lb
Position: Right Wing
Salary: In 2014-15 signed a four-year,
$18 million deal. This year is
his last year on that deal.
How are you feeling these days?
I feel good, maybe the best I’ve ever felt coming to training camp.
Why do you think you’re a fan favorite? I don’t know … because I’m small, I guess. I’m really bad talking about myself. I like to be in the middle and be a part of everything, but when it comes to the media, I’m a little shy.
Being a short guy myself, what do you say about being small and playing hockey in the NHL? Size does not matter. Like I said many times, none of those guys who told me that I was too little are sitting here in this locker room
today, so that’s pretty special. Everyone can achieve everything if they want to.
What happened last season?
It was a crummy season all around. We missed the playoffs, we lost guys who were here for a long time who I care a lot about, our coach got fired, and I certainly didn’t play well.
What did you work on this past off season? I worked a lot building my lower body and leg strength. I don’t think I was good enough with the puck or in battles last year, I was getting pushed off the puck too much, so that’s one thing I definitely wanted to improve.
Are you recognized when you walk around New York? Not that much. Sometimes, but there are so many stars around New York City, so I’m pretty sure I’m not up there with any one of them. We have stars on our team, Hankie and those guys, they take most of the heat, so that’s nice.
In one word please describe Rangers fans. Passionate.
How do you like playing with Henrik Lundqvist?
Like I said 100 times, for me Hanky is the best goalie in the world by far.
Message to Rangers fans about this coming season.
We know that not a lot of people believe in us, but I think that if we do what we’re told and play a hard, fast game, we can surprise people. I think making the playoffs is a realistic goal for us. Of course, in order for us to do that, a lot of guys have to step up.Players who weren’t part of the leadership group before have to step into that role and the leaders who are still here have to be better. I have to be better, Hanky [Lundqvist] has to be better.