Michael Del Zotto and his off-ice antics aren’t helping him

Michael Del Zotto was recently blasted on Twitter by adult film star Lisa Ann, who he's been associated with during his time in New York. (Deadspin)

Michael Del Zotto was recently blasted on Twitter by adult film star Lisa Ann, who called him “the most annoying texter in the history of [her] life, in a series of tweets. (Deadspin)

Time after time, distractions will pop up throughout professional sports. The NHL is no exception. Who said balancing a private life with a multimillion-dollar, public-eye contract was easy?

Some distractions are good, bad, ugly, flat-out weird and everything in between. But how would you categorize the latest news surrounding Michael Del Zotto — the subject of a lengthy Twitter rant by none other than porn star Lisa Ann?

Del Zotto won’t comment on the matter, at least on the record.

Interestingly enough, Del Zotto has seen an increase in ice time as the season’s progressed, and has been paired with Nick Schultz on the second defensive pairing. He’s also seen time on the second power play unit. Bear in mind, with injuries to defensive players like Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald, Del Zotto’s rise in ice time isn’t a surprise.

Del Zotto was also, notably, one of the last remaining free agents signed in the summer, when the Orange and Black snagged him after learning of the ramifications of Timonen’s blood clots. Del Zotto wasn’t re-signed by Nashville after the Rangers traded him.

It’s not that often you see a 24-year-old former first-rounder go unsigned for as long as Del Zotto did. Rumors surrounded his habits and work ethic off the ice during his time with the Rangers, and his stats took a hit. It’s easy for a player of Del Zotto’s age to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life in the Big Apple, but a change of scenery to the Music City didn’t help his case.

Del Zotto's involvement with Ann dates back to his tenure with the New York Rangers. (Bleacher Report)

Del Zotto’s involvement with Ann dates back to his tenure with the New York Rangers. (Bleacher Report)

Ironically enough, Del Zotto’s current team has established somewhat of a reputation for no nonsense off the ice. While the “Dry Island” rumors surrounding the Mike Richards/Jeff Carter trades in 2011 were purely hearsay (by a Philadelphia Daily News gossip columnist), partying was believed to be a key reason for trading Scottie Upshall and Joffrey Lupul in 2009.

Distractions come easy to multimillion-dollar athletes playing in big cities. Sure, it’s not the job of any non-team personnel to dictate how they live off the ice. Teams have off-the-record information and rap sheets about players that would make the Michael Del Zotto/Lisa Ann situation look like an incident between two church choir kids.

Del Zotto isn’t the first athlete to be caught up with off-ice distractions, and he most certainly won’t be the last. But when distractions such as this come to light, it carries a strong possibility to derail his career when his contract with Philly expires after this year.

Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61

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