GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers coach John Tortorella talked Friday about third-year defenseman Michael Del Zotto needing to "have a swagger about himself, but it also needs to be the proper swagger."
Del Zotto addressed that same topic Saturday in a brief chat with the media, saying he knows that he has to "bring my swagger back. It seems like a broken record here, but when I have my swagger I know what I can do and I definitely fit in."
That's interesting rhetoric, but Del Zotto knows he has to use training camp and the preseason schedule to prove to Tortorella and the Rangers brass that he fits into the team's blueline plans for the start of the season. He had a tremendous rookie season as an 18-year-old in 2009-10, but Del Zotto admittedly made mistakes both on and off the ice last season and it cost him a roster spot as he was sent down to the Connecticut Whale on two separate occasions.
He wound up breaking his finger in early March and then required sports hernia surgery in early May. Del Zotto, who was humbled by his experiences last season, said he worked harder than ever this past summer to bulk up and get in the proper shape in order to show the Rangers that he belongs.
"I learned from my experiences, my mistakes last year," Del Zotto said. "It's a whole different year and I'm a whole different person this year."
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