The Olympics turned out to be a rough one for Norway’s Mats Zuccarello and now the New York Rangers will have to deal with the aftermath.
According to a report out of Norway, the hand injury that knocked Zuccarello out of action against Russia is a non-displaced fracture.
Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants says the Rangers said an MRI out of Russia confirmed the injury and he’ll be reevaluated on Thursday by a team medical consultant.
The injury comes at a most unfortunate time for both Zuccarello and the Rangers. This season, he leads the team in points with 43 and is tied with Brad Richards for second on the team in goals behind Rick Nash.
The Rangers are in second place in the Metropolitan Division but are 16 points behind Pittsburgh for first. If they’re without Zuccarello for a length of time, they’ll need to see someone else step up offensively to fill his shoes.
New Jersey Devils forward prospect Stefan Matteau got a taste of NHL life last season when he played 17 games.
After being sent back to junior hockey last season (where things got a bit tumultuous), he’s spending this season in the AHL with the Albany Devils and it’s doing him a lot of good as Randy Miller of NJ.com shares.
“At the beginning of the year, I had to have a little chat with him about playing on the perimeter and trying to play a skill game,” said Albany coach Rick Kowalsky. “When he’s on his game, he’s tough to get the puck off of down low. And when he goes to the net, he’s just a force. It’s just a matter of doing it all the time and translating that to the next level.”
Matteau playing in the AHL instead of juniors was a bit of a curious move on the Devils’ part, but so far things are working out for the nearly 20-year-old forward. He has nine goals and 19 points with Albany this season to go along with 52 penalty minutes.
Learning to play the pro game on the fly the way he has the past two seasons will have its share of ups and downs. Devils management hopes it turns Matteau into one of the top power forwards in the league.
It seems Canada isn’t the only team that has to deal with dissatisfied fans even in the face of victory.
Russia’s 4-0 win against Norway on Tuesday helped move them into the quarterfinals and a pair of goals in the closing minutes helped pad the lead. One critique they faced was that they weren’t fired up to face a non-rival like Norway.
Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk doesn’t agree with that at all as Russia’s RSport shares.
“Everyone played well, everyone did their job,” said Datsyuk. “A very tough game. I don’t agree that we weren’t fired up for the Norwegians,” he added, but conceded: “It probably looked that way from the back-row seats.”
Take that, people sitting far away.
You’d have to almost forgive Russia if they were looking ahead to the next round against Finland. Norway performed the worst of the 12 teams during the preliminary round and didn’t look thrilling doing so.
As it was, Russia outshot Norway 31-22 and poured it on in the second period by a 14-6 margin. They may not be succeeding with flash and dash with superstars scoring all over the place, but with the goal to win gold, the Russians keep marching along whether they look fired up or not.