Since re-joining the Rangers, Mats Zuccarello has looked like the playmaking, offensive threat they thought they were getting when they signed him two years ago. Zuccarello talked to Larry Brooks at the New York Post about what's different this time...
“I feel more confident on the ice. The last time I was here I was way too worried about what would happen if I made a mistake. I decided that this time I would just give it my all and play with the mindset that I have nothing to lose.”
Zuccarello has an assist in three games since re-signing with the Rangers.
...while Zuccarello really hasn't had an effect on the score sheet, his playmaking ability has been on display every game and, in my opinion, jump started Richards. He has also showcased a physical brand of play that is important for a smaller player as well as some much needed energy to a team that was in desperate need of it.
...i've never been a fan of Zuccarello, but if he continues to play this way I'll have no choice but to convert.
Gotta love the effort he's putting out - he is playing a solid physical two way game and clearly adding offense. Ritchie hopefully snaps out of his funk soon and starts skating. We then have three solid lines with offensive threat and a good fourth line once they sit Pyat. Welcome home Zucc!!
Kevin, what do you mean he jump started Richards. Richards SUCKS! He does not show anything that a guy with the size of his contract should be showing. IMO. he plays like a guy gettting 1.5 million . (Ala Boyle.) Guess who scored the winning goal for the blue jackets last night. Te initials are M.G. Thats right, Marion Gaborik. He should not have been traded,Richards should have been. But I guess all the GM'S know that Richards is an oer the hill flop and they would never take over such huge contract and receive so little production in return. If the Rangers don't buy him out ths summer, it will take them 10 years to recover
Zucc has really upgraded his two way game. I remember in the MTL game he was hitting everyone and backchecking very well, but still made some great plays. If he can get some goals, man, we're scary,.
He's faster, thats going to help him.Looks like the KHL really helped his game.He's an NHL level player, not a problem at all.Good luck to him, if he gets the chance he'll make a bunch of good plays.With Clowe and eventually Dorset added everyone should be playing bigger, including the Hobbit.
I usually think those kind of comments are just window dressing... But the 3 straight penalties in his debut, makes me feel he really is just letting it go and not worried about torts scolding him...
I completely agree. he's been great since he's been back. Very involved. A little unlucky to only have one assist. His play, to some degree made Gaborik even more expendable. I love this team right now.
Let's take a look at three recent events discussed recently in this blog. 1. Rangers pile up points in last game against Pens with recent additions contributing and no 'practice' to get acclimated to "the system'. 2. Gaborik feels more comfortable in Columbus and scores in his first game there. 3. Zuccarello felt "affraid to make a mistake" playing last year under Torts and his system. What is the common thread here? It's Tortarella and his 'system' which must be gone at the end of this season. I have said it before... this is a system designed for failure, emphasizing defense first (which results in playing catch-up hockey) and styfling playmaking and creativity on offense (of which there is none). And may I add, it's not entertaining hockey.
@TheNYRBlog holy crap.... Thought i would never read this!!! He was good in the first two games, not so good against the pens
@TheNYRBlog I can't think of a story in which a hobbit hasn't come out on top.
Here's the difference for me. Zuccarello has eight hits in his three games with the team so far this season. Last year, he had eight hits in 10 games. Hits aren't just about making loud noises and hurting someone. When you run at a guy in his own zone or the neutral zone you're forcing him to immediately make a decision with the puck. Last season, 1 assist in 3 games wouldn't have been enough to justify giving him icetime. If he can do the other things, like do his due dilligence defensively and play an active game away from the puck - which he has so far - then Torts can justify the 13-15 minutes per night and be patient with the offensive production.
@scrangersfan Richards has four points in the last two games since being put with Zuccarello. He had three points in the previous ten before that.
@MikeBlue 1. Drawing inferences from one game is silly. 2. Drawing inferences from one game is silly. 3. He never said anything about being afraid because of Torts. He could have been afraid because he was intimidated by NHL. He could have been afraid because he knew the team was trying to win a Cup and he didn't want to screw it up. There are numerous reasons guys can play timid or afraid and it's not necessarily because of the coach.
@MikeBlue Ok, I'm about to be that guy who reposts his comment from another blogpost.
This is Prospal on Torts after the CBJ win where Gaborik got the GWG:
"...Let's put it this way: That is the only way that coach Tortorella knows how to coach," Prospal said. "That's the way he has been ever since I got to know him in Year 2000. He's not going to change because of certain players. You either can play under or him or you can't and sometimes you just go different ways but he's a good teacher, he's a good coach and I know, particularly in my game, he helped me quite a bit…"
@MikeBlue I don't agree that its the SYSTEM that's the problem. It's the way he treats them when they're not playing well that causes the "fear to make a mistake" phenomenon. All of the talk about Torts "defense first" on this blog is greatly exaggerated. No coach the Rangers have had in recent memory preaches getting the D involved in the offense more than Torts. And btw, coaching hockey is rocket science nor is it even a "chess match". It's pretty basic stuff. This guy is your guy. Go to the corner and get the puck. Pinch if you can, back off if you can't. Deck the guy in your crease. Get in front of their goaltender and block his vision and get pucks to the net. It's not like the rangers are playing the effing trap for god's sake.