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21.06.2019 04:24
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NEW YORK -- Hockey rarely gets much attention in Norway, a skiing-obsessed nation that turns to soccer when the snow melts. Mats Zuccarello is changing that. Zuccarello is only the seventh player from Norway to make it to the NHL, and hes the first to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. Now, "Zucca" has Norwegians staying up late to watch New York Rangers games and checking the stats to see if he scored. "A lot of Norwegians have fallen in love with Zuccarello," says Roy Kvatningen, sports editor for Norwegian online paper Nettavisen. "First and foremost because hes successful at what he does. He won the scoring title in Norway, he won the scoring title in Sweden, and now hes playing on the biggest stage in the world. "Hes also got a cool name and a good personality: confident, but down to earth." Former teammates of Zuccarello and his mother are being interviewed by Norwegian media. Downhill skier Kjetil Jansrud and players on the national soccer team have sent him congratulatory messages. In his fourth NHL season, all with the Rangers, Zuccarello notched 19 goals and 40 assists in 77 games. He added four goals and seven assists in 20 post-season games to help New York get to the finals for the first time in 20 years. "Some people, like my close family and friends that have been following me since I was young, are really excited," he said. "I told everyone its a huge opportunity for me to play, but at the same time nothing is won yet." The affable 26-year-old winger hopes his success will build up hockey at home, but he knows it will take a lot more than that. "I would love to be a role model for younger players back home and create some more buzz around hockey," he said. "Hopefully this can help. If I was Norwegian or not, I would be equally happy to play in the Stanley Cup finals." Norway finished last in the Sochi Olympic hockey tournament. Zuccarello believes a greater commitment is needed within the country before success outside of it can be reached. "We have 25 rinks. There is no ice in the rinks during the whole summer," he said. "... How are you supposed to be a good hockey player when you go four months with no ice?" Zuccarello says Norway hasnt made a commitment to hockey since Oslo hosted the 1952 Olympics. "Nothing," he said in a frustrated tone. "We have one new rink in Norway that is not from 52. They have renewed it a little bit, but our main rink in Oslo was built in 52, and thats not good enough. Its got to start from the top. Its going to cost money, but the government has money. Youve got to use it to get new rinks, get people excited to go to a hockey game with new seats. Norway is considered the "little brother" in hockey circles to Sweden and Finland. Sweden has 10 times as many rinks than Norway, Kvatningen said. Zuccarello was fortunate to attend a hockey-centric high school and then played three seasons in Norways elite league. From there he went to Modo in Swedens premier league before signing a free agent deal with the Rangers in 2010. He watched the Stanley Cup finals as a youngster in the early morning hours. The first one he recalls was the Colorado Avalanches victory over Florida in 1996 when he was 8. The Avalanche, with Swedish star Peter Forsberg, was Zuccarellos favourite team. They won that series in a four-game sweep -- ending it with Uwe Krupps goal in triple overtime. "I remember waking up. I was going to school, I turned on the TV and Uwe Krupp scored the overtime winner," Zuccarello said. "I didnt think it was live. I thought it was taped." He might be about to create a lot of sleepless nights for grown-ups and kids alike back home once this series against the Los Angeles Kings begins Wednesday. Family members and friends are planning to make the trip to New York to see him play live in Games 3 and 4. They will have to make room for other Norwegian tourists who are looking to make the trek, too. "I know already that more Norwegians have been travelling to New York to catch a game at Madison Square Garden," Kvatningen said. "Even if theyre not hockey fans, its a great experience for Norwegians to go over there and see a small Norwegian guy getting celebrated." Cheap Juan Marichal Jersey .com) - Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called Joe Flacco the NFLs best quarterback last week. Cheap Gaylord Perry Jersey . Anor had not scored since getting his first two goals of the season vs. Philadelphia on March 22 but struck with laser precision from distance in the 56th and 75th minutes. Montreal (3-10-5) lost its third straight and Impact coach Frank Klopas said it literally was a case of his players not stepping up. http://www.cheapsanfranciscogiantsjersey...ecky-jersey.The South African had three birdies on the front nine and another four after the turn at Leopard Creek Country Club to move to 16-under 128 overall.Grace, who won all four of his European Tour titles in 2012, dropped his only shot of the competition on the par-3 fifth. Cheap Giants Jerseys . It is unclear how long Kallstrom, who was brought in to alleviate the teams midfield problems, will be sidelined. Arsenals communications director, Mark Gonnella, says the club decided to proceed with Kallstroms signing despite the injury. Cheap Will Clark Jersey . -- Jonathan Diaz is easy to spot in the Blue Jays clubhouse.Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joique Bells touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave the Detroit Lions a 20-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Detroits win coupled with Green Bays triumph in Tampa Bay, means the winner of the NFC North will be decided next week as the Lions will travel to Lambeau Field in a winner-take-all Week 17 matchup. The Lions came into the game having been assured of a playoff spot due to Philadelphias loss to Washington on Saturday. It is the first time since the 2011 season that the team has made it to the postseason. Green Bay also locked up a playoff spot Sunday. Matthew Stafford had a rough game as he went just 22-for-39 for 243 yards with a pair of red zone interceptions, while Reggie Bush also had a rushing touchdown for the Lions (11-4), who have won four straight to reach 11 wins for the first time since going 12-4 in 1991. Coincidentally, the last time a Lions team won in Green Bay was in 1991, as the team has lost 23 straight in Wisconsin, and it was also the last time the team won a playoff game. Jimmy Clausen played admirably in the start, as he was under center in favor of a benched Jay Cutler. Clausen finished the game 23-for-39 for 181 yards and a pair of touchdown passes along with an interception for the Bears (5-10), who have lost their past four games. Detroit began the winning drive at its own 27 and quickly faced a 3rd-and-10. Stafford went deep for Corey Fuller and the pass fell incomplete, but Tim Jennings was flagged for interference to place the ball at the Chicago 17. The next play saw Bell break a few tackles on his way into the end zone for a 17-14 lead with 7:15 to play. The Bears went three-and-out on their ensuing touch, and the Lions were able to give themselves some insurance with a 30-yard field goal from Matt Prater with 2:35 to play. Chicago got near midfield after getting the ball back, but a desperation heave down the left sideline by Clausen on 4th-and-10 was picked off by Glover Quin, and Stafford went into the victory formation. Detroits second possession saw the team find the end zone to take the lead as Bush ran around the left end and just touched the pylon for a 13-yaard score with 5:15 to play in the first.dddddddddddd On the previous play facing a 4th-and-6, Bush caught a short screen pass and took it 21 yards to set up the score. Chicago responded with an impressive drive that saw it convert a fourth down play on an Alshon Jeffery catch. However, the team came away empty as it went for it on 4th-and-goal at the 1 and Clausens pass into the right corner of the end zone was knocked away by Darius Slay. The Lions came back with an impressive drive and got into the red zone, but Stafford tossed a floater into the back of the end zone that was picked off by Brock Vereen for his first career pick. A three-and-out from the Bears saw the Lions again drive into the red zone, but Stafford was picked off again, this time by Ryan Mundy. Chicago got near midfield at the end of the half and were going to go for it on 4th-and-3, but a false start call brought out the punting unit. However, Jeremy Ross let the ball bounce it front of him and it then hit his arm, with Chicago recovering at the 11. The next snap saw Clausen toss the ball out to his left with Matt Forte running it in to send the game into halftime tied. The Lions were able to cover 47 yards on 10 plays to open the second half, and took a 10-7 lead on a 39-yard field goal from Prater 4 1/2 minutes into the third. Chicago had to punt in Detroit territory on its next touch, but a roughing the kicker call on the punt gave the team a fresh set of downs, and Clausen found Jeffery in the end zone from 20 yards out for a 14-10 lead with 2:45 to play in the third. Prater had a 37-yard field goal attempt blocked on Detroits ensuing possession early in the fourth quarter. Game Notes Chicago, which went just 2-6 at home this season, closes out the season in Minnesota ... Detroit has won four straight over Chicago ... Bell finished the game with 74 yards on 13 carries, while Bush had 54 on seven totes ... Forte totaled 55 yards on 19 carries, and six catches for 40 yards ... Detroit totaled 367 yards to Chicagos 234 ... Detroit is 4-3 on the road this season ... Calvin Johnson had six catches for 103 yards for the Lions. 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