Kathy Willens/Associated Press
I've said it once, and I'll say it again: If Mats Zuccarello was 6'1", he would be one of the best players in the NHL.
But even at his generous listing of 5'7", Zuccarello is an absolute wizard with the puck, displaying incredible vision and patience.
He makes passes that most can't. He threads pucks into tight spaces, saucers it over flailing sticks and rifles it tape-to-tape.
His play is a main reason why linemate Benoit Pouliot has left the doghouse to become a reliable and at times forceful player. Zuccarello has been the most consistent offensive player all year long.
For Team Norway, which doesn't have the type of talent that most of its opponents will, Zuccarello will have to do it all. He'll need to quarterback the power play, kill penalties, set up teammates and score. He's by far the best player on the Norwegian roster, so opposing teams are going to do everything they can to neutralize him.
Of course, that could work right into his favor. If opposing defenders are shading to his side, it just gives him more of a chance to make a fancy pass to a teammate.
Look, Norway is not going to get very far in this tournament. Zuccarello is the only NHL player on the roster. But his unique passing ability will help the Norwegians stay in games.