On February 14th the Vancouver Canucks placed center Manny Malhotra on injured reserved effectively ending his season and tenure with the franchise. It was on the basis that he hasn’t recovered fully from an eye injury and risks further injury if he plays. On March 16th, 2011 a puck hit him in the eye and resulted in him needing two surgeries to save his vision.
Tonight New York Rangers defensemen Marc Staal had no way of avoiding the puck after a shot got deflected on its way to the net. It connected with his eye and he was writhing in pain on the ice and there was blood. Trainers got called out to give aid.
Visors aren’t mandatory in the NHL, which is surprising since there’s an added concern with high sticks. Some of the most memorable injuries over the last decade involved an eye injury. Steve Yzerman in a playoff game in 2004 that required four-and-a-half-hours of surgery and Bryan Berard in 2000 got hit with a stick, which required multiple surgeries.
Eventually Berard found his way back to the NHL after missing an entire season and ended his career in 2007-2008 with the New York Islanders.
Chris Pronger also in 2011 got hit with the blade of a stick and the Philadelphia Flyers indicated that when he came back to play wearing a visor was mandatory and it’s now time for the rest of the league to follow suit. As there’s no need for any player to risk permanent vision loss with adequate protection available.