In a promising sign during his recovery from a fractured skull that sidelined him for most of the playoffs, Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello has been cleared to play in a charity game in Norway next week, the team confirmed Thursday.
Zuccarello, who was hospitalized for three days with bleeding on the brain and lost his ability to speak after being struck by teammate Ryan McDonagh's shot early in Game 5 of the first round against the Penguins, will skate in the event at DNB Arena in Stavanger in his native country on June 19.
At the team's breakup day on June 1, the 27-year-old winger said he was improving and hoped to return for training camp in September.
"I lost my talking and some feeling in my arm," Zuccarello said. "I feel much better and I'm going to be getting better and better. It will still take longer to recover but, come the season time, I should be ready to go."
Zuccarello scored 15 goals and 49 points during the regular season and his absence for 14 games during the postseason left a big hole in the lineup.
Several of his teammates, including Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin, are scheduled to participate in the event, according to a Norwegian TV report.