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Hobbit to Hartford: Mats Zuccarello demoted

Mats Zuccarello, the diminutive Norwegian forward signed to a two-year contract last summer, has been returned to the AHL after his even-strength game deteriorated.

The Rangers have not made an official announcement, but the transaction was reported on the AHL web site. No callup was noted. 

Zuccarello, 23, stepped in for Wojtek Wolski last night after two healthy scratches, and seemed lost at time, especially on the point. He played 12:58 and was a minus-3.

In 41 games, he was 6-16-22, but his upside was in the shootout (5 for 9, 3 of them game-deciders) and power play. On the PP, he had nine assists.

The other day, when I asked coach John Tortorella if Zuke had hit a wall, he responded by saying he didn't think so, acknowledged his value on the power play and that he was just inconsistent.

I can see that he might not be a fit for the Flyers and Bruins games, but you have to wonder if he'll be back for the Thrashers and Devils games, the final two of the season, especially since a shootout goal might mean an extra point in the standings.

Busy at moment, but need to check on the rules, Recall may not be allowed unless an emergency before AHL season ends. Of course, what's to stop a team from declaring an injury severe enough for recall?  



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