Rangers’ Staal: Wife spent ‘four nights wiping blood off my eye’

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The New York Rangers announced that defenseman Marc Staal skated on his own prior to Tuesday’s practice, a significant step in his return from an eye injury.

But it sounds like he wouldn’t have gotten there without his wife.

Staal met with reporters following his skate, and recounted the first few days after being struck in the eye with a puck against the Flyers on Mar. 5.

From Blueshirts United:

“That first week was pretty scary, I don’t think my wife slept the first four nights wiping blood off my eye and off my face.

“She’s been amazing, and my parents and my brothers. And it’s amazing how small the hockey world is and how many people reached out. That’s been great.”

Tuesday marked he second day in a row that Staal has skated, according to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.

While there’s still no timetable for a return to game action (Sportsnet did report earlier that Staal could return by season’s end), one thing is for certain — Staal regrets not wearing a visor, and will don one when he comes back.

“It was the first thing that went through my mind when I hit the ice,” he said. “I should have been wearing a visor. But hindsight is 20/20.”

Staal also added he’ll vote yes on an NHLPA initiative about mandatory visor use for new players entering the league, and is “all for” grandfathering in a rule allowing current players to make their own choice about wearing them.