San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton is playing tonight as the Sharks battle the Toronto Maple Leafs, three days after he took a puck above his right eye in Saturday night’s win over the Anaheim Ducks.
The San Jose Mercury News reported the story.
“Yesterday I still had some problems seeing, but today it feels back to 100 percent,” Thornton said after the morning skate today.
If only there was some sort of a device that could be attached to the front of a hockey player’s helmet that might prevent stray pucks from getting too close to one’s eyes, this might not have been as much of a problem for Thornton:
Actually, the NHL now has a rule that took effect this year making visors mandatory for players entering the league (h/t NHL.com)
But, as with many NHL rules changes, the change only affects players coming into the league this year and moving forward. Players who have played without a visor in the past are not required to wear one.
This is similar to when helmets were made mandatory in 1979, but players who went bareheaded prior to the change were allowed to continue playing without one for the duration of their careers.
The last player to go without a helmet in the NHL was current Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish, who played his final game in 1997—18 years after the headgear became mandatory. (h/t Toronto Star)
Being that it is the NHL, Thornton came back to play Saturday, even assisting on a goal by Patrick Marleau with one eye almost swollen shut. Marleau was not surprised: