New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

While they’ll be enemies tonight, it seems as though Carl Hagelin has some strong feelings for Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers.

By Robby Sabo

Tonight at 8 PM ET, on NBC Sports Network’s Wednesday Night Rivalry, the New York Rangers will take on Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the hated Pittsburgh Penguins.

All seems right in the world. That is, until, you realize who else is now on that Penguins squad.

VISIT ESNY’s New York Rangers Team Center

Former Ranger, and beloved Blueshirt, Carl Hagelin, will make his first appearance on the other side of the Rangers – as the opposition.

One guy Hags still has very strong feelings for is Mats Zuccarello.

According to Pat Leonard of New York Daily News, Hagelin actually recalls shedding some tears following Zuccarello’s very serious head injury against the Penguins in last season’s playoffs which sidelined the talented Norwegian for the rest of the tournament.

“It was the day after it happened,” Hagelin told the Daily News Wednesday morning at CONSOL Energy Center. “Me and Brass went to the team doctors and asked if it was OK to go see him. He had a family friend there taking care of him, too, a woman that I knew from before. So me and Brass walked in and he was in the intensive care unit, so you walk in you’re like, ‘Whoa.’ You see people who are almost dead in there.

“So you walk in,” Hagelin continued, “and you see him and he can’t really move his mouth. Like he’ll laugh and then only one side of his mouth is working, because he got hit on his left side of his head, which controls the right side of the body. And then when he was trying to talk nothing really came out, he’d say something and it was like “shhzzzz.”

“You could see that he knew what was going on so he got frustrated, and then Brass broke down and then I broke down because of the whole mix of everything,” Hagelin said. “It was an emotional day.”

He also discussed how he and Zuc clicked immediately.

“I think we clicked right away,” Hagelin said of his friendship with Zuccarello. “I think he was with New York a year before I got called up, and then we played in the AHL together for a little bit. Then I got called up to the NHL; then he got called up. Then he came to see me in Sweden that summer and that’s when we became good friends, and then we played together for three years.

Friends or not, the two will be enemies tonight at The Igloo.

NEXT: The Good Feelings For Hagelin Are Now Gone

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]