Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson has been wrestling with facial protection since suffering a fractured orbital bone in a fight during the preseason.
He began the season wearing a full cage, but because he felt his visibility was impaired, he made the switch to a full visor. Clarkson is now wearing a half visor, though he’s doing so at his own risk.
“I’m not supposed to be in a visor yet, I’m still supposed to have the cage, because I haven’t healed all the bones yet,” Clarkson said on Wednesday morning, “but it’s just so hard to play with a cage or a full shield when the puck comes, it’s tough to pick things up so I switched to this last game and I feel a lot better.”
Clarkson admits he can’t fight due to the injury, but doesn’t credit his inability to drop the gloves to more attention being paid in other areas of his game. The 30-year-old already has four goals through his first 15 games this season – he had five goals all of last season.
“My whole career while I was scoring I was still… I wasn’t wearing a visor so it doesn’t make a difference,” said Clarkson, who netted a career-best 30 goals during the 2011-12 season while with the Devils.”That’s the way it’s gone, I had to wear it if I wanted to play and I wanted to play so I wore it.”
Clarkson is nearing seven weeks since he initially suffered the injury and said his next doctor’s visit is not for another two weeks.
“I had two breaks in there,” explained Clarkson. “I’m just glad to get that full (shield) off. It’s a pain in the butt.”
Once the bones are fully healed, Clarkson intends to go back to playing without a visor.
“I never wore it my whole career and it’s not something that I’m going to wear once my eye is better,” he said. “I’ll be back to how I’ve always had it.”