Ok, you winced. I winced. Jason Zucker laid on the ice in obvious pain just two periods into his triumphant return from core muscle surgery. He missed 30 games and 37 of 38. He was ready to return to the Penguins lineup and receive tribute from his former team, the Minnesota Wild.
It became a memorable night for all of the wrong reasons.
In the second period, Minnesota forward Kevin Fiala gave Zucker a shove which sent Zucker awkwardly into the wall, legs buckling beneath him.
“No comment,” was all Zucker would say about Fiala’s involvement.
This season, Zucker has 14 points (6-8-14), including a first-period assist in Minnesota before the injury in 32 games. It’s been a disappointing output, and prior to his previous return, Zucker declined to make excuses but he seemed to indicate that the injury which required surgery has dogged him.