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An Injury To Mats Zuccarello Would Cripple New York Rangers’ 2013-14 Season

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The reason why I am not a fan of men’s hockey in the Winter Olympics is because of injuries. I am a Stanley Cup guy, not a gold medal guy, which is why I do not like the fact that NHL players are allowed to play in the Winter Olympics. In my opinion, men’s hockey in the Winter Olympics would be much better if only college kids and amateurs were allowed to play in them like the good ole days, but that is not going to change anytime soon, unfortunately.

So, with all of that being said, news broke that New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello did not play in a Team Norway elimination game due to a swollen hand. It is said that his hand is not broken, but it is so swollen right now that he cannot even grip a hockey stick and was not even well enough to play in a do or die game for his country, knowing that he is the only NHL player on his country’s team.

While it is good news that his hand is not broken, it is bad news that the injury is bad enough to sideline Zuccarello, and now with Team Norway eliminated from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, his next hockey game will be nine days away for the Rangers against the Chicago Blackhawks – a game that the Rangers will need Zuccarello healthy for in order to win.

Zuccarello has arguably been the Rangers’ best forward this season, leading the team in points with 43, with 15 goals and 28 assists. S0, Zuccarello missing any time down the stretch for the Rangers, even just one game, could prove to be fatal for the Rangers’ playoff chances, as so many teams in the Eastern Conference are separated by just a couple of points. The Rangers currently sit in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, but are only one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers on this date in time.

It is so extremely important for Zuccarello’s swelling to go down and for him to play every game for the Rangers for the rest of this season. With depth a big problem for the Rangers, missing a player like Zuccarello could be the difference of 2nd place in the Metro Division, to watching the first round of the playoffs at home.

Steven Carollo is a New York Rangers and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Facebook, connect with him on LinkedIn, and join his Google network.

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