Yesterday, in an interview with Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang (VG), former New York Ranger forward Mats Zuccarello opened up about his painful departure from the team and the treatment of his close friend Henrik Lundqvist by the organization.
The interview, which was published in Norwegian, reveals much about Zuccarello’s feelings even through Google translate. With that being said, it should be noted that many things could be lost through translation here.
The creative winger pointed out that taking less pay to be loyal was “nonsense” in light of how the organization has treated both him and Lundqvist. Zuccarello called the treatment of his friend and former teammate disrespectful, despite the need to give starts to Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. The former Ranger considered Lundqvist’s drastically reduced role to be unthinkable. Evidently, that was even more surprising to him than the Rangers’ decision to deal him to Dallas.
I never thought it would happen to me, either. In my eyes, I was about to end [my career with the] Rangers. I think Henke would, too. Everything was going to be fine and great, but then the management decides, and then you are not worth the shit.
Zuccarello told Roy Katvatningen that he went out of his way to sign in the Western Conference to reduce the amount of games he would have to play at Madison Square Garden, but his first priority was term. He signed a five-year deal with the Wild with an AAV of $6 million.
The friendship between Zuccarello and Lundqvist was a key part of the Rangers’ identity and locker room culture. After the 2019 trade deadline, Lundqvist broke down while being interviewed by members of the media regarding his friend being traded to the Dallas Stars.