Monday, March 25, 2013
Rangers embrace Zuccarello's return
By Katie Strang
Currently in 28th place in scoring and with only one power-play goal over the last seven games, the Rangers know they can use some offensive help.
And if it means welcoming back former teammate, Mats Zuccarello, they are all for it.
Several players embraced the idea of Zuccarello's return. The 25-year-old Norwegian forward has spent this season playing in Russia in the Kontinental Hockey League, but he has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Rangers to return to North America for the rest of this season.
Zuccarello is awaiting his release from his KHL club, Magnitogorsk Metallurg.
"There's no secret we need to score more goals," captain Ryan Callahan said. "Bringing a guy in that can create offense definitely will help the team."
Callahan said that the fact that Zuccarello has played with the team before will only ease the transition process. Zuccarello had eight goals and 18 assists in 52 games for the Rangers from 2010-12.
"We go through it every year at the trade deadline, picking up guys midway through the year. I don't think it makes a difference," Callahan said. "Especially a guy that's already been here and everyone is familiar with. And he's familiar with the system, so I think that makes the transition that much easier."
The Rangers could use an injection of fresh legs and scoring touch in the lineup. Coach John Tortorella has been juggling lines trying to spark something of late; on Sunday, he promoted Chris Kreider to the first line while Marian Gaborik was relegated to third-line duty during the team's 3-2 shootout loss to the Capitals.
"He's a young, talented, skilled guy that can add some skill into our lineup," Gaborik said. "We all know what he can do."
As does Tortorella, though he refrained to comment on Zuccarello's impending arrival until the deal is finalized.
Briere Out: The Flyers announced that veteran center Danny Briere is out indefinitely with a concussion; he will not play in Tuesday's game against the Rangers in Philadelphia.