After nine seasons with the New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello was always a beloved fan favorite and his trade to the Stars on Saturday was emotional for many. But the trade was perhaps felt most by goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Following the Rangers' 6–5 overtime loss to the Capitals on Sunday, Lundqvist was asked to comment on what Zuccarello meant to him and the team. The goalie immediately choked up and could only answer, "It's tough. Good friend."
Zuccarello and Lundqvist spent nearly a decade together as teammates and are close friends. The veteran goaltender told the New York Post earlier this week how much their friendship has meant to him over the years. "The times we’ve spent together, the talks we’ve had, I’ll miss that and I’ll miss him," Lundqvist told the Post. "I’ve had friends leave before. It’s hard. But when you play for one team for 14 years, it’s going to happen."
Once the trade was officially announced, Lundqvist had heartfelt posts on Twitter and Instagram featuring a photo of the two when the Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014.
During Lundqvist's interview, Zuccarello was playing in his first game for the Stars. He had a goal and an assist before exiting the game with an upper-body injury.