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Zuccarello is proud to be first Norwegian in Stanley Cup Final

Jun 2, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT

New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game One Getty Images

The odds were absolutely against New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello ever reaching a Stanley Cup Final series, becoming the first Norwegian-born player to ever do so.

Much like Martin St. Louis, he managed to make an impact on the NHL despite being an under-sized, undrafted player. He’s already managed quite a feat by making it this far – not to mention leading the Rangers in scoring this season with 59 points – but he told New York Newsday that it’s about more than just the individual accomplishment.

“Some people, like my family and friends, are really excited,” Zuccarello said. “It’s a huge opportunity for me, but we haven’t won anything yet. I would like to be a role model for the young kids, create some more buzz around hockey and hope it can help. But if I was Norwegian or not, I’m happy to be playing in the Final.”

Let’s hope that he can turn things up when the lights shine the brightest; he’s currently on a five-game scoring slump.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see him step his game up, though. The man they call “Frodo from Modo” and “Norwegian Hobbit Wizard” has come a long way since the days he recalls watching his childhood favorite team the Colorado Avalanche play big games at crazy hours. Now his excited friends and family get to watch Zuccarello play in hockey’s biggest stage.

  1. lowenni - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    I LOVE Zuccarello, which is saying something cause I HATE the Rangers.That being said, I’ve found myself rooting for so many of their players these playoffs like Zucc, St. Louis, Richards, D. Moore, and Lundqvist. Zucc’s story is awesome from top to bottom, making it in the NHL when people saw him at the Olympics, to not finding his way, and then just totally breaking out this year. Guy plays with a ton of heart and has so much skill, he’s seriously one of the best passers in the league. If he was four inches taller and didn’t play on the 3rd line he’d be a 80 point guy. Love watching the Hobbit play.

  2. jaythehelmetguy - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Just wondering, if someone could answer it’d be great, why isn’t Norway huge on the hockey world stage like Sweden and Finland or even Russia? It’s something of an anomaly due it literally bordering two of those countries.

    • blomfeld - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:02 AM

      because of it’s miniscule population and ‘challenged’ logistics (ie: it’s rugged natural terrain)

    • elgefar - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      Low population, high cost in building ice hockey rinks compared to football pitches (soccer), high cost to play/do compared to football and cross country skiing, and as Blomfeld mentioned “challenged logistics”

      A lack of a star player in the 80s and 90s didn’t help with recruitment and when our most favorite winter sport, cross country skiing absolutely dominated the world cup/championships, all the younglings wanted to become the next Bjørn Dæhli or Vegard Ulvang and not Wayne Gretsky.

      There are nearly half a million football players (registered, a lot more play it) in Norway, and only 7000 hockey players. Which do you think the politicians will cater to?

  3. blomfeld - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    ITALIANS HAVE ‘NO’ PLACE IN NORWAY ! …

    So ‘FU’ Zuccarello ! … and ‘FU’ Elaine while you’re at it !

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  4. jaybyrd99 - Jun 3, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    Zuuuuuuuc ! Definitely one the Rangers Mvp’s this season and playoffs. I love watching this guy play with Brassard and pool yacht .

  5. toews19 - Jun 3, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    How about Dominic Moore’s story? He got married to his longtime girlfriend from Harvard and shortly after she got diagnosed with cancer. Moore quit hockey for 18 months to take care of her before she died. Now he’s scored the series clinching goal to go to the Stanley Cup Final! Unbelievable

  6. 311sucks - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    dude has so much heart. so glad he broke out this year, he surely deserved it. he makes things happen.

  7. trolltoll11 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    zuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccc

  8. billiam55 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    my fav player! him and moore.

  9. hrudey - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    A Stanley Cup final with two American teams, one with a leading scorer from Norway and the other with a leading scorer from Slovenia, and neither with a Canadian captain? This must be Don Cherry’s personal hell come to life. :)

  10. dlk75150 - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    To bad he plays for the rangers I’d be rooting for him!

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