January 27, 2023


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Easy to sit behind a computer and write a lot

Hot Mats Zuccarillo (35) has scored 15 goals and 22 assists in 33 games so far this season in the NHL.

Last night there was another score when the Minnesota Wild lost 2-5 to the San Jose Sharks.

This means less for Zuccarillo now than it did earlier in his career.

You play hockey because you want to win and contribute to the team. I feel like I’ve been playing for so long that I’m not interested in points. When I was younger I thought it was more important, but the most important thing is winning with the team. If you score three goals and lose, you’re not satisfied, Zuccarello tells TV 2.

– I think journalists and many people around us look at the statistics. You’re probably affected more when you’re young, but that’s normal. He continues: You probably learn a little bit as you get older and your shoulders drop.

Target – Fall: Mats Zuccarillo has been in the flow zone this fall. Photo: Matt Kron

– Harder than I imagined

The ice hockey star went to the USA in 2010. Zuccarillo was 22 years old then. He eventually earned a star spot on the New York Rangers and became a pillar of the team. In 2019, the ride continued to the Dallas Stars. A few months later he signed to the Minnesota Wild.

The transition was more difficult than he had imagined.

– I think I’m a guy who really depends on having a good time and doing the best I can. Zuccarillo says his first season at Minnesota wasn’t very good.

– I came as one of the oldest New York Rangers and stayed in the center field in Minnesota where there were older players. It takes some time to find its location. You have to get to know each other, and it was probably more difficult than I could have imagined. Then he also goes beyond the game on the field. I think it does with most athletes. If you feel good off the field, you will probably perform better on the field, he continues.

He found himself right: Mats Zuccarillo and the Minnesota Wild were a good match.  Photo: Daryl Dick

He found himself right: Mats Zuccarillo and the Minnesota Wild were a good match. Photo: Daryl Dick

Zuccarillo doesn’t begrudge the pressure younger players are under in 2022. It was a whole different world when he broke through to the top level. Many well-known athletes have taken part in the fight against harassment on social media. This is the other side of the coin.

– Surely anyone with a phone can write whatever they want. Perhaps it is more difficult today for young people, and indeed for everyone. It’s a good idea to pay attention to what is written there. You can also go crazy just by reading the positive, although it is better to remember the negative. I think that’s the way it’s built, Zucca reflects.

With age, this wears off faster.

– You get older, smarter and maybe even see the game differently – Take it a little more calm and don’t overthink it like you did when you were younger. Then you think more about what people think and everything outside of sports. Especially in the social media world we live in. It’s easy to sit behind a phone or computer and type a lot of nonsense. I think young people today who come and try it… it was hard. I’m glad I didn’t experiment with it so much when I was young. Then he says it will be worse.

– I found the tone

Earlier in the week, the Norwegian capped a ten-game winning streak. The 35-year-old is humble when he explains his amazing goalscoring technique. Zuccarillo shares a lot of the credit with his teammates.

– I got smarter, but then I had good classmates. Kirill and I have found the tone both on and off the ice. We have become good friends. We also have good players with us. Hartmann last year, and this year both Goudreau and Estelle contributed. It’s probably thanks to good mates who put you in good situations, Zuccarello says.

Dangerous duo: Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello are close friends on and off the ice.  Photo: Abby Parr

Dangerous duo: Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello are close friends on and off the ice. Photo: Abby Parr

When games come like pearls on a string, it’s about getting into a good flow. Good results and performance generate self-confidence, which is noted by the Wild group.

– As long as the team is doing well and you win, you gain confidence. I’m just as good as the team. There are some vague answers, but when the team performs well, everyone gains confidence and works better, smiling.

Then it doesn’t matter if you are 22 or 35. Zuccarillo thinks he could have several good years left.

– I feel young. This is the worst thing about getting old: You still feel like you’re 20, but the number shows otherwise. I have one year left after that so we’ll see if my body and mind are up for it. And if it’s interesting and you can contribute. I don’t want to play without just contributing. It should be fun, and I want to feel like I’m defending a place on the team,” he says.

– Especially for me and Marilyn

In July, Zuccarello and his partner, Marlene G√ľnther, became parents to a girl. It has turned everyday life upside down. Now he is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his little gang.

– We have a little girl who requires a lot of attention, so it will be her first birthday. It will be so special for me and Marilyn to experience that with her. We are very much looking forward to that. She is now 5-6 months old and learning a lot. I would love to eat rice porridge for lunch, but she can’t eat it yet. He smiles at her to drink milk with her.

After the games in California, a short Christmas celebration awaits.

– Then it’s time to go home, watch movies, eat good food and just relax. Then on it again. It’s going fast. I’m happy at Christmas. It’s comfortable. Now there is real snow and winter here. He concludes that it’s a white Christmas in Minnesota, so it will be fun.

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