The Rise and Fall of Michael Del Zotto: A Complete Look At The Troubled Defenseman

Welcome to another blog here on DOINOW.com. As always, check out the right hand of the site for previous articles. I have been getting a lot of positive feedback on my topic articles, such as Strahan vs Barber, Anthony Duclair, Why Frank Boucher’s Number Should Be Retired, How the NHL is Pricing Out NY Fans & other subjects. Since I have time, and we are nearing the one year anniversary of the Klein for MDZ trade, I figured I’d tackle another subject, “the former future” of the New York Rangers, Michael Del Zotto.

 Michael Del Zotto came to the New York Rangers with a lot of promise and fanfare. He was the youngest defenseman in the Rangers 83 year history, when he took the ice for his debut on October 2, 2009, at the age of 19. Wearing the number 4 on his sweater, Michael Del Zaster was easily an affectionately nicknamed “MDZ” by Ranger fans. However, come January 2014, MDZ wore out his welcome, and fans all over were calling him Michael Del Zaster. MDZ’s rise and quick fall wasn’t something one could predict. It happened so fast, that now, over a year later, it’s interesting to look at under fresh eyes.

Today, Michael Del Zotto is still only 24 years old. He has plenty of time to put all the pieces back together. There’s no reason why he can’t figure what’s going wrong in his life and career. He still has the skill level to be a productive defenseman in today’s NHL. The tone of this article isn’t “Del Zaster is done”, but really taking a look at the second guessing in MDZ’s career. To get a feel of Del Zotto, we must take a look at his early beginnings in the NHL and why fans cared about him.

MDZ, drafted number 20 overall, by the New York Rangers, in the 2008 NHL entry draft, would score in his first ever game at MSG, during the  Rangers home opener in the 2009-2010 season. MDZ netted his first score against the Ottawa Senators. Del Zotto, a Canadian himself, was familiar with the Senators, as he spent most of his Junior career playing in Ontario. In fact, Del Zotto, grew up in Ontario and it was his home province. It was a nice way to start off his career, as he made his bones in Ontario. Now, at 19 years old, he was skating in the “World’s Most Famous Arena”, Madison Square Garden.

It was nice to see Del Zotto produce so early, but was he for real? MDZ quickly answered that question, tallying 12 points in 14 games, earning NHL Rookie of the Month honors in that October of 2009. MDZ was quickly becoming a fan favorite. A good looking guy, females loved him and the males loved what he was doing for the club.

MDZ would continue his strong play during his rookie campaign, coming second in the league in scoring by rookie defensemen. MDZ would notch 37 points in 80 games and earned the honors of being on the 2010 NHL All-Rookie Team. One thing looked certain, the Rangers had an emerging young stud on their hands.

Many careers in sports have suffered the “sophomore jinx”. After all, it’s easier for a rookie to take the league by storm because no one knows what to expect, nor has any game film to study of you. Even in baseball, most pitchers start off hot, before settling into who they will be.  The same thing goes for quarterbacks and the same thing goes for hockey players. MDZ, still a fan favorite at this time, struggled in his second season and was sent to the then Connecticut Whale (The AHL Hartford Wolfpack of today) during the first week of January.

MDZ would wind up finishing with only 11 points in 47 games during that 2010-2011 season.  Ranger team personnel and fans alike were left to wonder if MDZ was just a flash in the pan. Only time would tell.

As the 2011-2012 season rolled around, and coming off an off-season where MDZ really buckled down,  MDZ mirrored his rookie campaign. Now a third year NHLer, MDZ would put up 10 goals, to give him a total of 41 points in 77 games. The Rangers had their scoring defenseman back.

Unfortunately, Gary Bettman once again ruined hockey in the 2012-2013 season. Let me get this out of my system now.  How can a commissioner  have three work stoppages during his tenure? TOTALLY UNCACCEPTABLE! Bettman is the only commissioner to lose a full season under his watch. INEXCUSABLE. This is the guy that has allowed numerous frauds take place under his watch too, most famously in this area, the John Spano/Islanders debacle. He’s killed markets like stocks being crashed by a CEO caught with hookers. There has never been a worse commissioner in all of sports, even with that idiot kiss-ass liar Roger Goodell being in the mix.

One thing I wonder about. If it wasn’t for the work stoppages- would Jaromir Jagr be closing in on 1000 NHL goals? Jagr’s story is for another day though.

Returning to the tale of MDZ, the 2012-2013 season just became a 2013 season, due to the NHL lock-out. The season wouldn’t start til mid-January, instead of its normal first week of October start.  MDZ spent the fall and early winter playing hockey for the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of the Swiss National League A. It was just a way to stay fresh and in condition, once the lock-out was over.

MDZ’s fourth year in the NHL would be an abbreviated one, as the NHL resumed operations on January 19th, 2013. Before skating in his first NHL game back, MDZ signed a two-year deal with the Blueshirts. It would be a deal the Rangers would regret as the downfall of MDZ’s NHL career can be traced to around this time.

Ironically enough MDZ would be the Rangers 6th highest scorer in that abbreviated season, tallying 21 points in 46 games. Not too shabby. However, Coach John Tortorella would consistently ride him and try to get MDZ to change his game. MDZ was producing points, but Coach Torts wanted defense. He wanted blocked shots. Apparently, Torts didn’t learn anything from the season prior, where the Rangers lost the Princes of Wales Cup/ECF to the Devils, due to being so tired from blocking shots all season. While MDZ wasn’t the only one who felt the wrath of Torts, as a young man, at 23 years old, it was enough to rattle him a bit.

The Rangers would eventually be bounced out of the playoffs, in the second round, by eventual Eastern Conference Champions, the Boston Bruins, in 5 games. The Bruins dominated the Rangers. The Rangers simply couldn’t score and were physically dominated. The powerplay was the worst it has ever been in Rangers playoff history. With the biggest star of the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist, making it clear that he would test the free agent market if Torts was still around, Torts was quickly shown the door after the season was over, despite Rangers owner, James Dolan, being a big Torts fan.

With Torts fired, the Rangers hired the recently fired coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Alain Vigneault. This move would turn out to be ironic, as the Vancouver Canucks replaced Coach AV with Coach Torts. It was basically a trade. It’s funny how that happens. You that a lot in the NFL too. (Sanchez/Vick for the Jets/Eagles and you might see that with Ryan/Marone with Jets/Bills.) Fortunately for the Rangers, the Rangers got the best of the deal, making the Stanley Cup last year and going on historic win-streaks this year. Torts would be fired after only one season in Vancouver.

Opening up the 2013-2014 season, many hockey experts, fans and Rangers team personnel thought the move to AV, who promoted offense, would benefit the free-skating Michael Del Zotto. People were expecting big things from the now 5 year NHLer. However, MDZ could never grasp the system of Coach AV, while his teammates were flourishing. Recording only 11 points in 42 games, MDZ would be a healthy scratch 9 times during the season.

It was tough for Ranger fans. While Henrik Lundqvist jerseys were primarily worn by Ranger fans at games, you would see a ton of Del Zotto jerseys as well. MDZ was a fan favorite. However, as the season progressed, fans would be enraged with MDZ, and were now calling him DEL ZASTER. Del Zotto would become a turnover machine and a liability on the ice. The MDZ and AV relationship never panned out and MDZ was traded to the Nashville Predators, in exchange for defenseman Kevin Klein, on January 22nd.

It was bittersweet for Ranger fans to see MDZ moved. Once a promising defenseman, MDZ looked lost on the Rangers. It was time for him to go. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it was an easy salary dump for the Rangers and it was a way for the Rangers to get a defenseman’s defenseman in Kevin Klein.

The change in scenery wouldn’t do much for MDZ. MDZ would only tally 6 points, with just one goal, in 25 games with the Predators. Nashville, who basically had nothing to lose by acquiring MDZ, decided not to offer him a new contract at the end of the season, making MDZ a true free-agent for the first time in his young career.

The off-season wasn’t too nice for MDZ. Despite being released at the beginning of the NHL off-season, teams weren’t exactly knocking at MDZ’s door. He was too inconsistent. Instead, MDZ would settle for a one year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers on August 5th, less than a month away from the NHL preseason.

As I sit here, writing this article on 1/12/15, it’s amazing what happened to every party affected by the MDZ to Nashville trade. Here’s a quick look:

The New York Rangers – The NYR would make the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years. The MDZ trade improved the team. Defensemen Kevin Klein and Raphael Diaz held down the fort. The Rangers are currently in the middle of their hottest winning streak in team history, an 88 year history at that.

Kevin Klein – Klein would appear in his first Stanley Cup finals. As of today, many fans believe Kevin Klein was an NHL All-Star Game snub, due to the rules of every team being represented. Perhaps he gets a defenseman spot in the ASG, if the league allowed just the best players only into the game. Klein leads the league in even-strength goals by a defenseman and has 3 Game Winning Goals. Klein has been a beast defensively as well, preventing numerous goals.

The Nashville Predators – the Predators decided to dump MDZ after a failed 2013-2014 campaign. The Predators currently have the most points in all of the NHL and sit at first place.

The Philadelphia Flyers – The Flyers, who were a playoff team last year, are currently 6th place in the division and virtually look like they have no chance of making the playoffs this year.

Michael Del Zotto – MDZ watched the team that traded him go to the Stanley Cup and watched the team that wouldn’t tender him a contract be 1st place in all of the NHL. Del Zotto has been a healthy scratch on numerous occasions this season. Flyers Coach, Craig Berube and MDZ have been feuding in the press, with MDZ mad about lack of playing time and Berube insinuating that MDZ isn’t performing the way he should be.

http://doinow.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/1394320155_del-zotto-300x169.jpg

It’s tough times for Michael Del Zotto. On the bright side, he still has his number one fan, 12 year old Liam Traynor. One thing can be said about MDZ, he uses his fame for good causes. He was always part of MSG’s “Garden of Dreams” charity and does other charity work that is not publicized.

In the case of Liam Traynor, Sports Illustrated blew up MDZ’s relationship with Traynor, with several media outlets following suit.  ESPN, the Magazine, did a great story about MDZ’s relationship with Traynor. This is definitely a heart-warming story, and you can read about it here:
http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/10922185/former-new-york-ranger-michael-del-zotto-stays-touch-superfan-trades-espn-magazine

MDZ goes out of his way and has made a special relationship for a kid, that isn’t as fortunate as many of us, health-wise. Perhaps his hockey skills are diminishing, but as a human being, MDZ is Aces. On an aside, a big smile went across my face when adding the picture above. That trip that Liam made to Nashville was courtesy of Ranger fans, who took up an online donation to raise money to get Liam to Nashville after the trade. It’s stories like this, that don’t nearly get the media attention they deserve. People would rather talk rape, murder, child beatings, drugs and everything else that takes place in the National Felony League, rather than talk about how WWE Wrestler John Cena has made the most “Make-A-Wishes” for sick children and what MDZ does. Sports and pro athletes have been making positive relationships for as long as anyone can remember, yet we would rather spend hours debating Ray Rice.

As much as a humanitarian Del Zotto is, he also has a sordid side. Maybe sordid isn’t the right word, after all, he’s a red-blooded straight male, like the majority of the people reading this. Let me give you a recap, courtesy of my blog originally printed on 11/2/2014:

Michael Del Zotto apparently can’t score on the ice or with porn stars either!!!
As I was doing my daily Ranger reading, checking out sites, blogs, twitter and facebook groups. I stumbled on that post. Not sure if it was true, or just another shot at Michael Del Zaster, I googled Michael Del Zaster + Lisa Ann and came across this:

http://hockeybroads.com/threads/37249-Help-Find-Michael-Del-Zotto-a-Date?p=2733318

Now if you don’t know who Lisa Ann is, let me give you her credits from IMDB.com. If you’re not familiar with IMDB.com, it is the number one site for an actress or actor’s film credits.

Enjoy:

Movie Title Distributor Notes Year Rev Formats
Facial
2013
2010
2012
Facial
2009
2009
NonSex
2013
NonSex
1996
Facial
1996
MastOnly
2008
1998
IR
2012
2010
2010
2008
Anal Facial DP A2M
2012
Anal Creampie
2009
2014
Anal Facial A2M
2011
Anal A2M
2013
Anal
2012
Anal Facial A2M IR
2009
Anal Facial
2009
NonSex
1995
IR
2011
2011
2006
2012
Anal
2006
2010
Facial
2007
Anal DP A2M Creampie
2009
LezOnly
2008
NonSex
1996
NonSex
1997
2007
2012
2014
LezOnly
2003
LezOnly
2013
2003
2009
LezOnly
2013
2012
Facial IR
2009
NonSex
1995
2011
MastOnly
1994
Facial
2009
Anal Facial DP
2013
Anal
2011
2013
IR
2013
2010
2010
Facial
2011
Anal Facial DP IR
2013
Facial
2012
Anal Facial
2008
Anal Facial
2013
Anal Facial
2012
2012
IR
2004
2014
Facial IR
2006
2012
BJOnly Facial CumSwap
2008
BJOnly Facial
2010
2013
2009
2011
2012
Anal
2013
Facial
2012
LezOnly
1995
Facial
2010
2010
2006
Anal Facial
2013
Anal IR
2011
2009
Anal Facial IR
2009
2006
2014
2014
2012
2010
Facial
2010
2012
Facial
2009
Anal
2011
2013
2014
Facial
2006
LezOnly
2012
1995
IR
2012
2014
Facial
2008
Facial
2009
IR
2012
2008
Facial
2009
2010
DVDOnly
2012
2009
2009
2010
LezOnly
2012
2011
Facial
2009
Facial
2011
Facial
2008
2013
Facial
2009
NonSex
2003
1999
IR
2014
Anal Facial A2M
2012
LezOnly
2010
LezOnly
2010
2006
Facial IR
2006
Anal Facial DP IR
2013
Facial
2006
LezOnly
1996
NonSex
1995
NonSex
1997
2006
Facial
2008
Facial IR
2010
Facial Bald
1995
Facial
2013
Facial IR
2014
1995
Facial
2009
2014
IR
2011
Facial
2006
Facial Swallow
2006
2014
Facial CumSwap
2009
NonSex
1996
NonSex
1996
Facial IR
1995
2013
2009
2013
BJOnly Facial
2012
2010
BJOnly Facial Swallow
2013
LezOnly
2010
Facial
2006
MastOnly
1995
Facial
2006
Facial
1996
2007
Facial Bald
1994
Facial
2010
MastOnly
2009
2010
LezOnly
2010
2012
2014
2014
Anal DP IR
2011
NonSex
2010
2012
2013
LezOnly
2008
Facial
2010
2009
2014
2013
LezOnly
2005
LezOnly
2006
BJOnly Facial
2006
BJOnly Facial
2009
Bald
1995
BJOnly Facial
2011
Facial IR
2008
Anal
2012
Anal Facial IR
2010
LezOnly
2013
IR
2013
Facial
1996
Facial
2006
MastOnly
2012
Anal Facial IR
2011
Facial
2010
2014
Anal
2010
Anal
2011
2008
Anal
2009
2009
Anal Squirt A2M Creampie
2008
Creampie
2012
MastOnly
2009
Facial
2008
Facial
2012
2013
Facial
2006
Anal Facial A2M
2010
LezOnly
2010
LezOnly
2010
Facial IR
2009
2012
LezOnly
2013
LezOnly
2009
LezOnly
2014
Facial Clip IR
2009
Anal Facial IR
2013
Facial IR
2008
Anal Facial DP IR
2013
2006
Anal Facial
2012
Anal Facial Swallow IR
2012
LezOnly
2012
LezOnly
2014
LezOnly
2014
2012
IR
2012
Anal Facial DP IR
2012
NonSex
1994
NonSex
1994
Facial IR
2009
NonSex
1994
Anal DP IR
2013
Anal Facial DP IR
2009
Anal Facial DP Swallow Creampie IR
2013
Anal Facial DP IR
2014
NonSex
1995
NonSex
1996
Anal IR
2009
Anal Facial CumSwap Swallow A2M
2013
MastOnly
1996
1995
Facial
2010
Bald
1995
Facial
2011
Facial IR
2011
Anal Facial A2M IR
2013
Anal Facial A2M IR
2011
Facial
2013
BJOnly Facial IR
2010
MastOnly
2010
2007
2010
Facial
2007
2011
Facial
2007
2013
2014
Facial
2007
2008
Anal IR
2012
IR
2009
2010
2013
2009
IR
2008
2014
Facial
2012
Facial
2010
Anal Facial DP CumSwap Creampie
2013
Anal Facial DP
2014
LezOnly
2012
IR
2012
2013
2014
Facial
2009
2006
Anal Facial
2011
Facial
2009
Facial
2010
Facial
2010
LezOnly
2012
Anal
2013
Anal IR
2014
Facial
2013
Anal Facial
2014
Facial
2008
Anal A2M
2014
CumSwap
2009
Anal Facial Swallow A2M
2009
2012
Facial Bald
1995
Facial
1996
Facial
2006
2011
2009
2014
Facial
2009
2010
MastOnly
2011
2013
Facial Swallow IR
2009
IR
2013
2012
Facial IR
2009
1995
Facial
2006
BJOnly Facial
2009
2012
2014
Facial
2009
2011
2010
2010
2011
2013
Facial
2006
2013
Facial Swallow IR
2008
Facial
2013
2012
2013
2013
2014
Anal Facial
2012
2009
2009
2013
2010
2006
Anal
2011
2011
Anal Facial IR
2013
LezOnly
2009
Facial
1995
Facial
2009
NonSex
1997
NonSex
1997
2010
2013
Squirt
2008
2014
2010
2012
2014
2007
Anal A2M
2013
Bald MastOnly
2012
Facial
2006
2012
2012
Anal Facial A2M
2012
2007
2013
NonSex
1998
IR
2012
MastOnly
1997
MastOnly
1998
Anal
2013
2014
Facial Clip IR
1996
IR
2011
LezOnly
2007
Facial IR
1996
Facial
2009
IR
2011
2012
2014
Facial
2009
Facial
2006
NonSex
1998
Anal
2011
2010
Facial
2010
Facial
2013
2014
Facial IR
2009
Facial
2008
2013
2014
2009
2006
2012
Facial
2009
IR
2009
Bald
1995
2010
2013
Facial Bald
1995
Facial
2006
2013
Facial
2011
2010
2014
MastOnly
2014
Anal IR
2011
2013
2009
2011
Facial
2012
Anal IR
2011
LezOnly
2011
LezOnly DVDOnly Clip
2013
Facial
2009
LezOnly
2010
2013
Facial
2006
2014
IR
2009
1994
Facial
2006
2013
NonSex
2009
2013
2014
2014
2010
2012
2008
LezOnly
2010
NonSex
1995
LezOnly
2013
NonSex
1996
2014
2011
2014
2014
Facial
1996
2007
NonSex
2005
LezOnly
2006
NonSex
1997
Anal Facial
2011
LezOnly
2009
Facial
2006
Facial
2006
2013
LezOnly
2010
LezOnly
2009
LezOnly
2014
Facial IR
2006
Facial IR
2014
Anal Facial IR
2009
Facial
2013
IR
2014
2011
Facial IR
2008
Facial
2006
Facial
1996
2014
2003
2011
2009
2011
Anal Facial
2009
Facial
2008



Pretty impressive right? I mean “Who’s Nailin Paylin?” was a cult classic and led Lisa Ann right into the porn star HOF. After researching more about this story, it seems that Michael Del Zotto bugs Lisa Ann incessantly for sex and women. I mean, the scoring joke is too easy here.


I brought up MDZ’s charity work before dropping this bomb to show that MDZ isn’t a complete del zaster. He just enjoys annoying porn stars for sexual gratification. Not a crime, and it certainly isn’t the worst thing an athlete has ever done. It’s just hilarious that it’s him.
Now Michael Del Zotto probably isn’t the first and certainly not the last guy in the world to have a porn star fetish. I mean after all, porno conventions draw 1000’s of people on any given day. Other porn stars would soon follow in Lisa Ann’s footsteps, saying how MDZ stalked them too. It wasn’t a great story for MDZ, and he wound up blocking any one on twitter that mentioned him or asked him about this story. How do I know this? Because he even blocked me, when I asked him about it:
Embedded image permalink 
I guess MDZ’s reaction, to anyone asking him about his porn addiction, was to block them, just in the same fashion the porn world blocked him. As Alanis Morrisette once said, “isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”
At only 24 years old, MDZ still has a lot of hockey left in him, if he can get everything back together and his head on straight. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just going through troubled times, both professionally and personally. It doesn’t look probable that he will be back in Philadelphia next year, and it seems that he will be a free agent once again this summer.
 For a guy who started his first four years under one team banner, MDZ looks like he will approach playing for four different teams in two years. It’s hard to build any real traction or consistency when you’re bouncing around. For MDZ, I hope whatever team he catches on with next year will produce a positive relationship and benefit his career.
MDZ isn’t a bad guy. From the eyes of a Rangers fan, it just wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps one day, down the line, MDZ will be back wearing a Rangers sweater. After all, NY, America & sports fans love a comeback story. I hope MDZ is able to tell that tale. 
I’ll be back Tuesday night/Wednesday morning with Ranger/Islander reaction.
Feedback, hate mail, love letters can go to:
Sean McCaffrey
BULLSMC@aol.com
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter.

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