The New York Rangers big 4-2 win Tuesday night over the Philadelphia Flyers was overshadowed by the Marc Staal injury in the third period. Staal took a puck to the right eye with just over five minutes gone in the frame and had to be helped off the ice.
According to the New York Rangers twitter feed, Staal was examined by two separate doctors on Wednesday. Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist, and Dr. Mendel Markowitz, a maxillofacial surgeon, were both optimistic about Staal’s injury.
Kimmo Timonen of the Flyers took a shot from the blue line that was deflected off of Jakub Voracek’s stick before hitting Staal in the eye. Staal was not wearing a visor during the play, which has been a major topic of discussion since the incident occurred.
NHL analysts across the nation have been debating over whether the league should enforce a rule change that would make all players wear a visor. Traditional hockey fans have never put too much thought into visors, let alone helmets. Hockey is built on a scrappy, sometimes dirty demeanor which added an excitement to the game long ago.
The Rangers next take the ice Thursday against the New York Islanders, but Marc Staal is out indefinitely though Wednesday showed signs of progress. The Rangers have won three straight games after a slow start to the season.
At 11-8-2, the New York Rangers currently hold third place in the Atlantic Division. The Rangers trail the New Jersey Devils by one point and the Pittsburgh Penguins by a full three games.
Marc Staal had two goals and nine assists on the season before taking the shot to the face. Staal has played in every Rangers game this year, tallying eight points in his last 13 games.
Suspensions have been handed out to multiple players this season; most recently five games to Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres. You won’t see any suspensions on a freak accident like this, but you can guarantee Staal is paying the price.
Players jump in front of pucks all the time in attempt to block shots, but Staal just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can bet the Marc Staal injury will be reviewed over and over again by the NHL, but I doubt they will find a reasonable way of explaining this one.