Back in April, Mats Zuccarello laid in a hospital bed, temporarily unable to speak or feel his left arm. The symptoms were a result of a serious brain injury he suffered in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs. Nearly six months later, Zuccarello is now fully recovered from the injury, but he told reporters he did have his doubts early on as to whether he would be able to play hockey again.
"Right away it’s kind of like, it’s almost your life. ‘How’s my life going to be like this?’" Zuccarello said to the New York Post. "I can’t talk, I can’t function. So it’s more like that. After that, it’s ‘Am I going to play again?’"
Zuccarello answered his own question Thursday night when he played his first game since April, an exhibition game against the Boston Bruins. The winger looked just fine, recording two goals and an assist in the 4-3 loss to the Bruins. Best of all, Zuccarello told reporters after the game that he did not think about the head injury once while he played.
The good news for Zuccarello also bodes well for the Rangers, as the 28-year-old ranked fifth on the team in scoring last season with 49 points in 78 games. He projects to be a central figure for the Rangers offense again this season.