Archive for Mats Zuccarello

'Cleared': Zuke. Image: Getty

‘Cleared’: Zuke. Image: Getty

Slowly but surely the oh-so-long hockey-less summer is coming to an end. Traverse City is around the corner, prospects are back in action and news is starting to filter through. Without further delay, let’s hit up Around the League one more time.

It’s the time of the year when we start to hear about try-out offers for veterans ahead of training camps. One that could offer some intrigue is the Blues inviting Scottie Upshall to camp. Upshall has flirted with 20 goals on a few occasions and at 31 could be a decent short term fill-in for the injured Patrick Berglund.

Prediction time: The Rangers will have three centers break fifty points. Kevin Hayes will build on his fine rookie year and scrape past the half-ton.

Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello has been ‘cleared for the new season’. With the time Zuke has had to heal I’m sure most people will not see this as a surprise but regardless, it’s good to hear. Zuccarello has become an increasingly integral part of the Rangers. His importance will only increase as the Rangers have gotten younger up front and have lost Marty St Louis.

New Jersey Devil veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador has retired after a solid 14 year career. Injuries robbed Salvador of almost all of his final year in the NHL.

The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to ‘search’ for new owners. Really, this franchise hasn’t deserved to be littered with legendary talent like Lemieux, Jagr and Crosby because it’s only been kept in the city by hook or by crook over the years. Multiple ownership, finance and arena issues; the Pens have never been a model of stability despite being in a strong sports market and boasting a regularly high quality on-ice product.

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Categories : Around the League
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“Hey guy’s, look at us, we’re bargains! “(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Let’s have a gander at the grades for the Rangers’ top two forward lines shall we?

Rick Nash

Rick Nash’s overall season can be argued both as a positive and a negative. Indeed, there are few players that have divided opinion the way Nash has since he became a Ranger. A season that featured notable career highs but that was offset by another underwhelming postseason, things went as far as culminating with Nash being considered prime trade material this offseason. Hardly the appreciation you’d expect for a 42 goal player and early season Hart Trophy candidate. The problem is that Nash, like many Rangers, is now judged primarily on what he does after the regular season and this is where he failed to live up to both his regular season production and significant salary.

Nash needs to be a leader, the go-to guy offensively and in the postseason that didn’t happen nearly enough. Nash lacked postseason consistency, was never close to being his dominant regular season self and as the Rangers went quietly into the offseason, tellingly, so did Nash. Once again, despite solid numbers the microscope will firmly be on Nash come October. Despite the disappointing end, Nash finished in the top ten for the Hart trophy.  Grade: B

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It’s still amazing to think that just a couple of short seasons ago, Mats Zuccarello was toiling away in the KHL because, well, the Rangers didn’t really want him. At best, they were certainly not convinced by him. Fast forward a few years and Zuccarello is absolutely irreplaceable on a club that harbours annual Stanley Cup hopes.

We all saw how the Rangers struggled to generate consistent offense in the playoffs. Zuccarello’s enforced absence early in the playoffs was almost an instant death knell to the team’s hopes of winning the Cup. It shouldn’t have been the case however.

The Rangers had Rick Nash, they had Marty St Louis in position to step up, they had their trio of young centers all entering the playoffs in good form and they had Chris ‘Mr Playoff’ Kreider. But it didn’t work out as intended. St Louis literally played himself out of a new contract and maybe even out of the league. Nash hasn’t ridden himself of his playoffs demons. So what does it all mean?

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Jun
01

Injury news from breakup day

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Per Steve Zipay, the Rangers were pretty banged up in the Tampa Bay series.

  • Ryan McDonagh had a fractured foot, suffered in Game 4.
  • Dan Girardi sprained his right MCL in Game 4.
  • Mats Zuccarello had a brain contusion (yeesh), full recovery expected. He was unable to talk for 3 days and needed speech therapy.
  • Marc Staal had a hairline fracture in his ankle, suffered in the regular season.

While injuries are not an excuse, these injuries certainly played a role in the Rangers’ defensive performance in the latter half of the series.

Categories : Injuries
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May
18

Mats Zuccarello skates on his own; No timetable for his return

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In case you missed it, Mats Zuccarello skated this morning on his own before the New York Rangers took the ice for practice. Zucc has been out since Game 5 of the first round with a concussion, suffered after taking a shot from Ryan McDonagh to the skull.

While Zuccarello skating is always good to see, his return to the lineup is not imminent. This is normal progress, and I still wouldn’t expect him back this series. Concussions are always tricky, so it’s better to air on the side of caution instead of getting your hopes up.

Categories : Injuries
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Per Mats Zuccarello’s agent, the injured winger is back in light training (note: Norwegian article) after suffering what he believes to be a serious concussion. Zuccarello was struck in the side of the head by a Ryan McDonagh slap shot in Game Five against the Penguins. While there is no timetable for his return, light work is always a good sign. This should hopefully put an end to the silly rumor started by one of those “anonymous” accounts that his career was over.

S/T to @sirlondon_ for the tip.

Categories : Injuries
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Per Larry Brooks, injured winger Mats Zuccarello will be unavailable for the entire second round series against the Washington Capitals. Zuccarello was struck in the head by a Ryan McDonagh slap shot in Game Five against the Penguins.

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Zuccarello takes a puck to the face.

This isn’t good, as Zucc is a core part of the Rangers offense. Martin St. Louis will take his role in the top-six, and the Rangers will need a lot from him.

Categories : Injuries
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In case you missed it, Mats Zuccarello is out indefinitely with an upper body injury. Rumors are that this is a mild concussion, but a concussion is a concussion as Zuccarello took a hard slap shot to the head off the stick of Ryan McDonagh. Assuming this is long term, because with concussions that’s the only assumption you can make, then the Rangers are out a top line forward, and there is no one in or out of the lineup that can replace his production.

Instead, the Rangers are going to need produce enough from other parts to make the Zuccarello absence more manageable. You can’t replace a top line forward, but you can –quoting Moneyball– replace him in the aggregate. Zucc hasn’t put up many points in the playoffs, but his value is with his speed and puck possession skill. The Rangers have someone like that readily available in Carl Hagelin.

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At the optional skate today, injured defenseman Kevin Klein was on the ice. Klein has been out since March with a broken wrist and missed the entire first round series against the Penguins. Klein has been “nearing a return” for quite some time now.

Mats Zuccarello, who took a Ryan McDonagh shot to the noggin during Game Five, was not on the ice for the optional skate. Zuccarello didn’t return to Game Five, which is a rarity for injuries in the playoffs.

Update: Zuccarello is out indefinitely.

Categories : Injuries
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Apr
24

Mats Zuccarello will not return

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On the broadcast, MSG noted that Mats Zuccarello will not return to the game after taking a Ryan McDonagh slapshot to the face. You can view the GIF here. Jesper Fast took Zuccarello’s spot on his line, and the Rangers have been playing with 11 forwards.

It’s worth noting that this is the playoffs, and usually players come right back to the bench after something like this. Since Zuccarello isn’t returning, it may be serious.

Categories : Injuries, Playoffs
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