Zucker laces up for charity

One day after a three-point performance, Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker brought his athletic talents to a different sporting scene.

One day after a three-point performance, Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker brought his athletic talents to a different sporting scene. And although he didn’t display the same kind of touch in the clutch he does on the ice, the 25-year-old still managed to make a difference.

Less than 18 hours after a 5-2 Wild home win on a night he earned first star recognition for his two goals and one assist, Zucker, along with his teammates, were at a local bowling alley for a fundraiser benefitting Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

His big night on the ice didn’t exactly translate into a stellar evening on the lanes.

“I wish, but not quite,” Zucker told NHLPA.com. “But it was great. It’s a nice event and they do a good job with it. There’s a mix of corporate people, season ticket holders and others. We bowled one full game and then a few frames of a second game.”

No need to worry about Zucker trading in snap shots and slap shots for strikes and spares.

“I’m a long way away from being able to do that,” he said. “I’ll stick with hockey.”

Just want you want to hear if you happen to be a Wild fan.

In his third full NHL season, Zucker, born in Newport Beach, California, is in the midst of his most productive big-league campaign. Currently, he’s on pace to score 25 goals and record 57 points. Both would be career-best marks.

“I think it’s mainly consistency,” said Zucker, the 59th overall selection of the Wild in 2010. “You want to get better every season. That’s always the focus.”

With consistency and results comes confidence.

“Absolutely,” said Zucker, whose plus-32 rating is tied for second in the league, one behind teammate Ryan Suter. “That’s what this game is all about. You have to stay sharp. It’s a very humbling game.”

Part of a Minnesota squad that sits atop the Western Conference standings, the strong-skating Zucker isn’t about to slow down and admire his stats or the team’s current placing.

“There have been a lot of great things going on this year,” he offered. “Mikko (Koivu) and Granny (Mikael Granlund) and the whole team – everyone is playing well. That’s huge for us. That’s the way we want it to be. I’ve been very fortunate to be part of this.”

Zucker is hoping he can play an even bigger part as the games take on more meaning.

His main focus?

“My improvement,” he said. “Making sure I’m improving all the time, working hard and being a good person and good teammate while I’m doing it.”

Now if only he could perfect his bowling skills.