Rangers confirm Zuccarello (skull fracture) ready to start season

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Mats Zuccarello was temporarily unable to speak after being struck in the head by a shot from teammate Ryan McDonagh on April 24, but it sounds like he’s managed to put that serious incident behind him.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault “for sure” expects Zuccarello, who suffered a brain contusion and small skull fracture, to play in the team’s opener on Oct. 7, per The Record.

Zuccarello won’t be able to undergo his on-ice testing this week, but that’s because of a shot he had related to his foot and not due to anything stemming from his head injury. Defensemen Marc Staal (ankle), Dan Girardi (ankle), and Ryan McDonagh (foot) have also had their testing pushed back until next week for precautionary reasons.

The 28-year-old forward is starting a four-year, $18 million contract. He had 15 goals and 49 points in 78 contests last season and led the team in scoring in 2013-14.