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Rangers forward Zuccarello 'progressing well'

by Dan Rosen

LAS VEGAS -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said on Tuesday that the latest report he received from team doctors revealed that forward Mats Zuccarello is progressing well in his recovery from a brain contusion and hairline fracture of his skull.

"I got an email from our medical staff last week, everything is coming along fine and he should be 100 percent, I was told, by the beginning of August," Vigneault said.

Zuccarello sustained the injury when he was struck in the head by defenseman Ryan McDonagh's slap shot in the first period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Zuccarello said after the Rangers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs that he couldn't talk for four days and was in the hospital for three days. He said he was attending speech therapy. New York lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final.

"For a while there he was making real good strides and he kept making strides, but obviously a puck to the head and you lose part of your speech is a serious injury," Vigneault said. "Our docs did a great job and he was coming along real well."

Zuccarello had 49 points in 78 games during the regular season and two assists in five games in the playoffs. He signed a four-year, $18 million contract extension with the Rangers on March 2.


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