With the New York Rangers eliminated, they’ve revealed the extent of the injuries they suffered, including the seriousness of Mats Zuccarello’s condition. He suffered a brain contusion and small skull fracture and it left him temporarily unable to speak. He remains in speech therapy, per the The Record’s Andrew Gross.
That stems from Game 5 of the first round when Zuccarello was struck in the head by a shot from teammate Ryan McDonagh. He was able to skate off the ice on his own strength.
The good news is that his doctors have informed Zuccarello that he will be able to play next season. In fact, Zuccarello thinks that he might have even been able to participate in the Stanley Cup Final, although it sounds like the odds of that happening weren’t great.
Zuccarello resumed skating on May 18. He also started traveling with the team prior to that.
He’ll begin a four-year, $18 million contract in 2015-16.
New York Rangers’ captain and defenseman Ryan McDonagh was playing with a broken foot “for a couple of games,” said head coach Alain Vigneault, as per the Rangers’ Twitter account
There was a mysterious beginning to the game for the Rangers and McDonagh, who left the bench and went to the locker room before he had even played a shift on Friday. He eventually returned to the bench and began taking more regular shifts in the second period.
“The freezing hadn’t kicked in, so we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to play,” Vigneault told reporters.
“So, at that time we made the decision to go with seven (defensemen). He went back in right at the start of the first period, and it kicked in a little bit. But he played through a lot of pain.”
While their captain returned to action, the Rangers couldn’t conjure much of an offensive push in a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh didn’t take his first shift of Game 7 until almost 13 minutes had already ticked off the clock.
It will be interesting to hear an explanation following the game as to why this was the case.
McDonagh was seen on the Rangers bench during the national anthem, but he went to the dressing room with head athletic trainer Jim Ramsay, according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com. He later emerged from the locker room before playing a 53-second shift that started at the 12:41 mark of the opening period.
He played only three shifts in the first 20 minutes, so that’s a development to keep an eye on for the remainder of the game.
The Rangers decided to go with seven defensemen, putting Matt Hunwick into the lineup, despite having not played since April 24.
In Game 6 of the series, McDonagh was on the receiving end of a heavy Steven Stamkos hit into the boards.
Updated: McDonagh played 12 shifts in the second period, for a total of 8:23 of ice time.