Two weeks after their brother suffered a scary eye injury, Carolina’s Eric and Jordan Staal have decided to wear protective visors for the first time in their NHL careers.
The two donned them for the first time during Friday’s practice in Raleigh. Both acknowledged the decision was partly made in response to watching their brother — Rangers defenseman Marc Staal — take a puck to the eye during a game against Philly on Mar. 5.
Marc has been out of action ever since.
“It’s a decision that’s been brewing for a little while,” Eric told the Raleigh News and Observer. “At this point I just feel like the risk [of injury] isn’t worth it right now, because of the injuries I’ve seen to other people in this organization, family.
“Sometimes you feel like you’re invincible, but as many guys have seen, you’re not. Unfortunately injuries can happen. It’s just being smarter.”
While this will mark the first time they’ve worn visors at the NHL level, both Staal brothers have worn visors before.
Eric wore one as recently as 2010 — during Olympic participation with Team Canada, during which they were mandatory — and Jordan wore one in 2007 while representing Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships in Moscow.
It’s also worth noting the youngest Staal — Jared, currently playing for AHL Charlotte — also wears as visor, as mandated by American League rules.
Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season
Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.
But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.
On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.
Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.
Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.
Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma express remorse after benching
“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”
“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”
More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.
Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”
“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”
The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.
Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)
You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.