Zuccarello medically cleared for training camp


Mats Zuccarello gets congrats at the bench following his goal in the first period. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II/Getty Images

Mats Zuccarello has been medically cleared by team doctors for training camp.
AP Photo by Frank Franklin II/Getty Images

A month before training camp, Mats Zuccarello has been medically cleared. In a story written by Dan Rosen that appeared on NHL.com, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault revealed the good news.

“I’ve heard he’s 100 percent from our medical staff,” Vigneault told Rosen during a phone interview. “He’s been cleared to skate and have contact. He’s made a full recovery so we’re very pleased about that. He’s a big part of our team.”

Zuccarello sustained a brain contusion after taking a Ryan McDonagh slap shot to the helmet in the first period of Game 5 in the first round against the Penguins. Due to the severity of the injury, he needed the aid of a speech therapist to be able to speak again. He suffered bleeding to the brain and had a hairline fracture. Pretty scary stuff.

Quite honestly, it’s a miracle Zuccarello will be able to return. The Rangers re-signed him before the trade deadline to a four-year $18 million extension. The diminutive Norwegian is a key forward who Vigneault can count on. His combination of speed, skill and grit were missed the rest of the postseason. A very heady player, the 27-year old fan favorite is a strong forechecker who brings a lunch pail work ethic which New Yorkers identify with. Not unlike former Blueshirt Ryan Callahan, “Zucc” brings it every shift and isn’t afraid to mix it up.

His creativity has made him a perfect complement for Derick Brassard and Rick Nash. An unselfish player, Zuccarello sees the whole ice and comes back hard defensively. He’s one of the most likable players in the league. Easy to root for, the 5-7 179-pound right wing is all heart. Hopefully, he’ll still be the same player.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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