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Zuccarello Aasen responds to fans

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Zuccarello Aasen
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Rangers Land Norwegian Sensation

Late last month, Mats Zuccarello Aasen joined the Rangers organization on the heels of a remarkable MVP season in the Swedish Elite League.
The Norwegian international star is sure to be a center of attention at the Rangers' training camp this fall, as he bids for a spot on the NHL roster.

On the day Zuccarello Aasen agreed to terms with the Rangers, we invited fans to submit questions for him here on, and he was gracious enough to respond to a few that we passed along to him. Here are those questions and his answers:

Kevin D. from Long Island asks:

What do you think will be the biggest adjustment you have to make playing in the NHL?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

It's a higher level and it's a smaller rink and a different style of play, so I will have to learn how to play the Rangers game. I'll have to learn how they want to play hockey and I have to learn that as fast as possible. I guess it's maybe just the speed and the smaller rink that will be the biggest things. There's a lot of physical play, too, of course, but it's physical everywhere now, so I'm not going to worry about my ability to handle that part of the game. I'm going there more to make plays and play hockey, not to be the one making big hits.

Finn from Asker, Norway, asks:

What nickname do you like best? I have heard that "The Hobbit" is actually not one of your favorites. Is that true?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

If the fans like it, then it's not a problem for me to be called that, but my friends just call me Zucca. I guess the other one only really started during the Olympics. I don't mind either way. Fans can call me whatever they want.

Jeff Lagarde from Westbury, N.Y., asks:

What should Rangers fans know about your style of play?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

It's hard for me to describe that, but I'm a technical player and I really try to read the game. I'm not the biggest guy, so I have to be a little faster than everyone else. I try to read the game and see what happens, but it's hard for me to explain my kind of style.

Michael Perkovich from Factoryville, Pa., asks:

What current NHL player's style is most like yours?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

Everybody wants to be like Crosby and Ovechkin, of course, but they are superstars. I'm a little more of a passer than a shooter, so I guess anyone you would compare me to would have to be more of a passer than a shooter. But I'm not really sure. I do watch a lot of NHL hockey, but it's hard for me to compare myself to any of those players, so I'm really not sure.

Chris Smith from Bristol, England, asks:

Do you think the level of competition you experienced for two years in Sweden will help you adapt to the pace of the NHL easier?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

Yes, of course, I do think that. Sweden plays at a much higher level than the Norwegian league. It's a great league here in Sweden, and I know that it will help me when I come over there, hopefully, to have already played with Peter Forsberg and Naslund and practicing with them every day. I picked up some small things that I learned from them, so hopefully that will help me. Norway has more of an amateur league. You have to work a job on the side to play there, so the level is not that high. It's still pretty good, but Sweden has one of Europe's best leagues. You can't compare the Norwegian and Swedish leagues to each other.

Justin Provvido from Oceanside, N.Y., asks:

What are some advantages and disadvantages of being a smaller hockey player? How do you use your height to your advantage?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

People have been asking me this question my whole life. There are people who said I was too small to play in Sweden or in the Norwegian Elite League, but I know I can't do anything about being small, so I just have to use that to my advantage. It's harder to catch a mouse than a big elephant. So I have to try to think like that. If I can move quickly on my skates, then maybe it's harder to catch up with me and grab me than it would be for some of the other, bigger guys.

Jeremy R. from Englishtown, N.J., asks:

Are you excited about playing at the "World's Most Famous Arena?" What have you heard about Madison Square Garden?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

Of course, everybody has heard of MSG, but I'm just really excited to be playing for the Rangers. It's a club with such great history and Madison Square Garden is the biggest stage in the whole world. Of course, I've heard about it, but I don't really know much about its history. I know it's big, but I have never been there.

Vadim Boriskevich from Manalapan, N.J., asks:

Are there any specific places in New York that you already know you want to visit when you get here?

Zuccarello Aasen's response:

I have never been to New York, and I think Rome may be the biggest city I have ever been in. I'm looking forward to seeing how big everything is in New York. The big buildings and the big parks and how everything is so much bigger and there are so many more people than I am used to being around. Right now I'm living in a small town with maybe 40,000 people in it. So it's going to be a pretty different adjustment to come to New York. I don't know exactly how many people live in New York, but I know it's going to be very different.
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