A tandem bike. Sharing PB&J sandwiches and giggling together like school girls. Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello’s bromance started developing when they began playing on the same line in February 2021. Their relationship has stayed strong despite ups and downs.
But can they keep it going if Dean Evason splits them up on the ice?
The organization highlighted Kaprizov and Zuccarello’s bromance with a short and sweet Not Weird, Wild commercial in January 2022. The two bros go to get some coffee but play a friendly little game of “slide the coffee cup back and forth” instead. Ryan Hartman, the unlikely 1C between them, ultimately gets fed up and grabs the cup to use for his morning cup of joe. Kaprizov and Zuccarello are unphased, simply shrugging before getting out another cup to start the game again.
That mirrors what happens on the ice with this line, of course. Sometimes, frequent passing works. The tic-tac-toe between the three players on the top line has set up some beautiful goals in the past. Hartman had a career year with 65 points in 2021-22. He did it by breaking up the passing game the besties would play by putting the puck in the net. But it’s not working as well anymore. The top line has not been clicking as much as they usually do this year. Hartman has put up points, and the NHL named him the third star of the week last week. But the other two have struggled.
The newest Not Weird, Wild commercial showcases the best hockey bromance in recent history, and it does it in the oddest way possible. KK97 and the Lizard King ride a tandem bike together in the Wild’s weight room, sharing a water bottle while they get their sweat on. For some reason, Zuccarello is wearing slides, but Kaprizov has opted to go barefoot. It seems an odd choice, but maybe they know something that other people don’t.
After their workout, the buddies split a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which Zuccarello lovingly made, of course. While they may have developed a bromance, Zuccarello also takes on the role of a father figure for the young Russian. That probably helped Zuccarello prepare for fatherhood when his daughter was born during the summer of 2022. Zuccy might need a little help making lunches for his beloved children, though. He only manages to plate half a sandwich and a few cookies for each of them, along with a tall glass of milk.
After that, the bros get in a little silly relaxation time. With his ever-present corded headphones, Kaprizov shows Zuccarello something funny on his phone, and they tee-hee together. Oddly enough, it appears that they’re simply laughing at Kaprizov’s very plain lock-screen background. Perhaps there’s a hidden joke that fans are not privy to.
The pair then move to the locker room, where they text each other despite being only one stall apart. Apparently, one bike ride wasn’t enough because Zuccarello suggests that they get on the tandem bike one more time. Perhaps the first time around was for a workout, while the second run was exclusively for fun. When Kaprizov passes the water bottle back to Zuccarello this time, Zuccy tosses it aside. Could that be a sign that they’re ready to get down to work?
On Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils, Dean Evason split up the top line only a few hours after the bromance commercial came out. At practice the next day, Evason stuck with these new lines. That meant the top line was Marco Rossi centering Matt Boldy and Kaprizov. He had Hartman and Zuccarello together with Marcus Johansson on the second line.
Could this spell the end of the bromance? Was the newest Not Weird, Wild a way to let fans know that the bromance would remain strong outside the rink even if it isn’t on the ice? If the Wild permanently split KK97 and Zuccy up, fans can still hold on to the commercial inside their hearts because Kirill and Mats will always have the tandem bike.