It was going to be a game to watch. On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins were suiting up to play the Minnesota Wild, but this wasn’t the story everyone was waiting for. The real reason most fans tuned in was to not only see Jason Zucker’s return to the lineup, but also to see him play against his old team. However, things didn’t go quite as planned as Jason Zucker has suffered yet another injury.
It’s been a rough season for Zucker as he can’t catch a break. He played a solid 30 games before getting injured against the New Jersey Devils Dec. 19, 2021. Then, he was able to return Jan. 17 against the Vegas Golden Knights where he tallied two goals. Unfortunately, his injury persisted and required core muscle surgery, which he received Jan. 25.
The recovery process was long and arduous to say the least, but he was able to overcome it. It was very clear that his motivation and presence in the lineup was sorely missed, and getting that back was going to be a massive boost to team morale. His return to the state of hockey was incredible as the Wild organization made sure that he felt welcome in his old home. Even in his very first shift, Zucker recorded an assist on Rickard Rakell’s first period goal. However, things went downhill for Zucker.
In the second period, Minnesota Wild forward Kevil Fiala and Zucker were going to the boards to play the puck. Fiala lightly pushed Zucker from behind, which caused him to fall awkwardly into the boards. While he did fall as a result of Fiala pushing him, he showed incredible sportsmanship by staying near Zucker’s side and checking in on him. However, that doesn’t lessen the blow of Zucker’s absence in the lineup. He left the game and did not play in Pittsburgh’s game Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. It’s uncertain whether or not this could be a long-term injury.
As of right now, it is known that Zucker will miss the game Tuesday against the Avalanche. After that is anybody’s guess as there has been minimal information given. Now it’s a game of waiting as it appears he is still being evaluated. Although it is incredibly demoralizing to see such an important player like Zucker go down with yet another injury, things may not change all that much for the team.
It’s incredibly sad to say, but it doesn’t affect the lineup too much. After all, the Penguins just played 36 games without him. They’ve had to adapt to playing without Zucker, and it seems as though they adapted quite well. They’ve remained as one of the top teams in the league without him, and now that he’s injured again, things likely won’t change.
Again, it is incredibly sad to see Zucker go down with a gruesome looking leg injury after he came back. His presence will be sorely missed, both on and off the ice. However, because he’s been injured for most of the season, the Penguins know how to play without him. It’s likely that they will continue to perform as one of the top teams in the league. Now, both fans and the organization can only hope his injury isn’t too bad and that he can return in no time.
Go to our NHL page for more updates!