Mats Zuccarello met with the media in Dallas on Tuesday ahead of the Rangers game against the Stars: (NYR)
- “You leave a team you have been with for a long time and you get to a new team and are really excited to meet the guys and you play and are super high up and you break your arm and you are kind of down again. The team has been gone for a little bit but I’ve been texting with the guys and talking to guys. I feel welcome and happy to be here.”
- On the NYR fans, “I know from being at events and around the City that the fans are unbelievable and they took me in. They pushed me, made me who I am today and same with my teammates. It’s a lot of memories but you try not to think about it too much because it’s over, it’s something that when you retire you look back at and cherish.”
- Did you see Henrik’s reaction, “I saw it, he’s a good actor.” (Big laugh)
- How tough is it to leave those friendships, “it’s tough, some of those guys have been there since Day 1. Staalsie and Kreider, Mika, Brady have all come in and you become a little family, super tight, and there is Hank and his family and kids and everything. It was a really tight relationship and same with Staalsie. I sat next to him on the plan for a lot of years, every day, making fun of each other and having this unique relationship. You are gonna miss that for sure, but I think we will still have that forever.”
- “We stay in touch, Mika, he misses me like I was his boyfriend. (Big laugh) He facetimes me every day. That is nice, I appreciate everything we had as a team.”
Zuccarello will not play tonight after breaking his arm in the second period of his first game with Dallas.
The Rangers traded Zuccarello to Dallas for a 2019 second-round pick that can become a 2019 first-round pick if Dallas makes it to the conference finals and Zuccarello plays in half the games and a 2020 third-round pick that can become a 2020 first-round pick if Zuccarello re-signs in Dallas.
Adam Rotter: Zuccarello was probably the second most popular Ranger, behind Henrik Lundqvist, since he joined the team in 2011. He had his ups and downs under John Tortorella but found his game under Alain Vigneault and became such an important and beloved player. David Quinn loved him and I think the door, from the Rangers side, is wide open for him to return this summer. Will he? That remains to be seen because he is likely going to have opportunities for more money and more years from someone else. My guess, as of now, is that Zuccarello will either stay in Dallas, return to the Rangers or maybe try and attempt to sign somewhere as a package with Carl Hagelin and Derick Brassard.