Why don't they wear visors? And other topics
Every year we see somebody almost get their eyes poked out by errant sticks. Remember last season and Chris Gratton sustaining a scratched cornea that bothered him for much of the season? This season's disaster almost befell Ryan Malone on Wednesday when the left wing took an accidental stick blade across his left eye socket from teammate Evgeny Artyukhin.
Malone said there were no stitches, but there was lots of blood and a greenish, brownish scab that covered the top of his eyebrow, and drops of very red blood dripping from a cut next to his on the side of his eye.
Malone brushed the whole thing aside.
"Part of the game," he said. "I don't mind them. Usually try to get a couple of scars and black eyes early in the year -- get the feeling back."
I don't know, just seems so scary to me. Can't imagine not wearing a visor out there. But we have done countless stories on the topic that explain how players say they can't see well out of them even though the latest ones are supposed to be optically perfect and resist condensation. What can I say, I am obviously not a hockey player.
On to other things:
Olaf Kolzig will start in net Thursday against the Islanders. ... Couldn't make a completely informed call on who will sit on defense for the Lightning, now that Paul Ranger is back, but it seemed (and that is as far as I will go) Mike Lundin was the odd man out during practice Wednesday. This is the same Mike Lundin coach Barry Melrose said the other day was the team's best defenseman the past two games. Melrose said he will not make a decision until Wednesday night when he is outside his house smoking a cigar. ... As for what comes after that, this team is going to have some tough decisions. It is at its roster limit of 23 right now. If Marek Malik is signed, that makes 24 and with eight defensemen. When Ryan Craig (groin) is ready to come off IR, that's 25. Melrose indicated today he sees a time when he will have six left-handed shots on defense, which seems to indicate right-handed Jamie Heward's future is in play. But in what way? Will he go down to Norfolk or hang around as insurance against injury? There was some indication, though nebulous, Tampa Bay could keep eight defensemen and make cuts from the forwards. Jason Ward and David Koci have yet to get in a game. It's all a lot of moving parts yet. Let's just wait and see what happens. ... Good stat: Tampa Bay entered Wednesday second in the league in faceoff wining percentage at 56.4. ... Mark Recchi will play his 100th game against the Islanders on Thursday. He also has 100 against the Rangers.