This weekend, Mats Zuccarello is back in New York in the yard of his old Madison Square Garden home.
For nearly a decade, the Norwegian has been a crowd favorite in the American city. Of course because of the achievements on the ice, but also because of his fun, humble attitude and good work ethic.
He’s back in New York probably at his best ever. There he saw his companion being greeted. Fans also showed their love for their favorite Norwegian.
Zuccarillo and Minnesota Wild won the match. It was his first win there since leaving the club. He also set a club record with six consecutive games with two or more goal points.
In Minnesota, he has a new home and at the age of 34 he is currently among the top players in the great NHL.
– It flows well. The pucks go and the team plays well. When that happens, you enjoy what the player and team have to say to TV 2.
After the game against the New York Islanders on Monday night, in which Wild won again, but Zuccarello for the first time in a long time went futile off the ice, he took time to give an interview to TV 2.
He gives his teammates a lot of credit for his very good season so far, but he’s ready for it at any time.
– I have good teammates. We’ve clicked really well so far with (Kyrill) Kaprizov and (Ryan) Hartmann, but it’s just that we need to be prepared that it can turn around and that there are times a little bit harder and that the disc doesn’t go in, he says.
After the game against the New York Rangers, the coach bragged to his Norwegian student.
What you don’t see is his leadership qualities. He speaks in the right places and when he speaks, others listen. Saying the right things, backing them up with work effort… Working in one way is one thing, but working in reverse is another. Coach Dean Evason said at a press conference that he’s been doing it all year and is clearly a leader of the hockey club across the board.
Does leadership come naturally to you?
Yes, it becomes a little normal when you are one of the older ones and one of those who have been in the league longer. Zuccarillo replies that he becomes natural with the lead role.
For the first time in his National Hockey League career, he’s headed for a season by averaging more than one goal point per game. After 34 matches, he scored 40 points (13 goals and 27 assists).
Zuccarello became historical: – A wonderful day
– You can lose every match
Now the team is entering a period with a very difficult match programme.
– Now we’re going to play 44 games in 80 days or something. The fights are approaching, he adds, and it is important to recover well and participate fully.
The good scoring made more and more people view Minnesota Wild as a strong contender to be able to work his way into the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup.
Do you feel you have the inner level to be able to move forward?
– Don’t think too much about it. First we have to get there. It’s a good league, where you can lose every game no matter who you play against. It’s about spending the day. Covid can destroy and damage. Zuccarello answers: We have to focus on getting to the playoffs and going from there.
During the settlement on Saturday night, a special moment arose when comrades Henrik Lundqvist was interviewed on the American broadcast.
When Zuccarello got the disc, the Swede said, “Don’t let this guy score.” A second later, the puck was in goal.
– Did you see that clip?
– Yes, the boys got it. This has been shown. It was a great and cute video. It’s great that when he says it for the first time, a puck enters, Zuccarillo answers and smiles.
Watch Zuccarello praise himself before the game against the New York Rangers:
“Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner.”