Daniel Paille met with the media today after being struck by an errant shot by Steve Staios on Monday night. He has a black eye, a few stitches, and he’s forced to breathe through his nose—but it could have been much worse. Doctors told Paille that the puck to the face that he endured could have ended his season if it weren’t for the visor. In fact, it could have ended his career.
In the never-ending debate between fans regarding visors, here’s a new cautionary tale: Paille had be considering removing the visor before taking Staios’ shot to the mush. “I’ve been debating for years on whether to wear a visor or not,” Paille told ESPN’s James Murphy. “I always wore one but I always debated on taking it off and see how I’d feel.” He added that Monday’s incident made him wonder and it made the decision pretty easy going forward. The visor will stay on.
He knows it could have been worse than temporary stitches and bruises. The majority of players we’ve asked around the league admit that it should be the players’ choice. From fighters to superstars; from guys that wear the visor to those that don’t, the vast majority of NHLers think each individual player should decide whether they wear the visor or not. We hear about guys putting on the visor over the course of their career after they narrowly escape serious damage, but Paille was considering the opposite.
It looks like it only took a puck to the face to scare some sense into him.
In conjunction with our round-the-clock Mike Green updates, PHT is also committed to bringing you the latest in Chris Pronger news.
So, here goes: According to NHL.com’s At the Rink blog, the Flyers captain could return from his eye injury on Wednesday against the Lightning. Pronger’s now fully participated in two straight practices and flew to Tampa Bay with his teammates this afternoon.
“I’ve got to see how I feel after today. I didn’t feel too hot (Monday), so we’ll see how I feel today after a pretty good skate,” Pronger told reporters. “You don’t realize how quickly you can lose it when you’ve done nothing for seven days, you’re bedridden for four of them — the joints need to be moving. Sometimes while I feel like I’m 25, when you’re laying decrepit in your bed for four or five days, you get a little tight and stiff.”
Decrepit laying aside, most signs suggest Prong Kong (a friend of mine granted permission to use that nickname, feel free to try it) will get back to action tomorrow. He’s already missed six games and doesn’t seem keen on missing a seventh. He skated extensively with usual blueline parter Matt Carle and participated in all of Philly’s powerplay drills. Head coach Peter Laviolette said Pronger looked good during Tuesday’s practice and Claude Giroux said “he looks in great shape.”
Final note: If Pronger does return on Wednesday, he’ll be wearing a visor. Team ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen Goldman refused to clear him unless he wore one.
Last night we were horrified by seeing Flyers captain Chris Pronger hunched over screaming in pain after taking a high-stick to the eye. Seeing a gargantuan and intimidating man like Pronger hunched over in terror that perhaps he’d had his eye irreparably injured is an awful sight for anyone to see but it’s something that’s very preventable thanks to visors.
Of course, visors aren’t mandatory in the NHL and over the past few years we’ve seen situations like this happen far too often where a player takes a stick or a puck in the eye that would’ve been prevented or deflected by a plastic visor. We saw Manny Malhotra go through the same horror late last season. Bryan Berard famously nearly lost his eye years ago and Steve Yzerman too nearly suffered such an injury when he was playing. Ian Laperriere said he’d wear a shield after taking a slap shot off his forehead. Of course, he’s still dealing with concussion problems from that shot. Things don’t always work out as planned.
While Pronger’s diagnosis seems to be good with a 2-3 week timetable for return, the Flyers are making him comeback with a visor when he’s ready to play. Why not just have all players wear them all the time, instead and spare the players the terror of seeing another of their colleagues suffer a needless injury.
We’ve made this case before, and we stand by it. The AHL already makes visors mandatory, it’s high time that the NHL and NHLPA got caught up with the times and protected themselves.