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.
The Vancouver Canucks are dealing with a tough situation with stud checking center Manny Malhotra. Malhotra is out for the remainder of the season and the playoffs with an eye injury he suffered after taking a puck in the face.
Malhotra was bloodied and shaken up badly on the play and the injury is bad enough that he needs surgery.
As for how serious the injury is, that’s something we weren’t fully aware of until today when his brother-in-law, Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash, tweeted his thoughts to his followers hoping Malhotra can pull through.
It’s terrible to see that Malhotra is this bad off after such a scary play. While we’re hoping that Malhotra can pull through this and return to the ice next season or at all in the future, our main hope is that scary incidents like these will spur more players towards sporting a visor to protect themselves.
We know that many players, fighters in particular for obvious reasons, won’t wear visors, but seeing injuries like this occur when they seem easily preventable makes it seem like a no-brainer to choose to don a visor. We don’t want Manny Malhotra to become a martyr for this cause, but for now he’s the poster child for wanting to wear a visor. After all, for how inconvenient the visor might seem on the ice to those players opposed to them, would they rather be inconvenienced or potentially disabled in a freak occurrence? The choice seems obvious to us.
While the Vancouver Canucks have been dealing with countless injuries along the blue line, the one that may end up hurting them the most is the one to Manny Malhotra. The Canucks announced today that Malhotra will miss the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs after taking a puck to the eye last week. Malhotra had the eye operated on but it’s apparent that whatever has happened to it is damaging enough to keep him off the ice the rest of the way.
Malhotra’s role on the Canucks third line as a defensive forward and face off winner (he’s second in the league at 61.7% behind only David Steckel) is a huge one as he’s been a steady rock on the Canucks grinder line. His contributions offensively aren’t big (11 goals, 19 assists) but they’ve been solid. Malhotra’s role as a shutdown center for opposing forwards is where Vancouver will miss him the most, however.
What might prove to be the bigger dynamic out of this is the case it makes for all players to wear visors. We’ve seen countless players run into problems because they didn’t wear one only to have those incidents change their mind for good. Steve Yzerman, Bryan Berard, and Ian Laperriere all come to mind immediately and whether it was from a wayward stick or a puck to the eye, those players all came back from their situations to throw their support fully in favor of using them.
As it is, the NHL has no rules on whether or not to wear a visor as it’s at the players discretion. All junior hockey, college hockey, and the AHL have rules about protecting the eyes or face at those levels. With the NHL having no rules about it makes it rather stunning the use of visors hasn’t gone the way they did when the league made helmets mandatory in 1979. At the very least, grandfathering in those players who wish to take a risk with their health should be made the rule. Any players that come to the NHL through the AHL has to wear a visor at that level, them taking it off upon reaching the pros seems reckless.
As for how the Canucks fill Malhotra’s role, the pressure shifts to Maxim Lapierre to grow up and play a stronger game up the middle. Without a strong presence there, the Canucks are significantly weakened defensively. They’ve been able to overcome injuries all season long, but this is one that’s tougher to handle since they don’t quite have the same depth up the middle as they do on defense.