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Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman to ask visorless players to add visors

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Steve Yzerman at the end of the season will ask Lightning players who do not wear visors to consider adding them for 2011-12.

"We want to keep their eyesights and noses in place," Tampa Bay's general manager said. "It's something we would like to push moving forward."

Yzerman's statement came two days after C Vinny Lecavalier was hit in the right eye with a stick blade during Sunday's victory over the Blackhawks.

The captain sustained a scratch and a bruise to his cornea, and though there was no structural damage, Lecavalier said he was "lucky," so much so, he said, he will experiment this summer with wearing a visor, intending to make it permanent.

Lecavalier, who scored his 22nd goal Tuesday in the 4-2 loss to the Sabres and is under doctors orders to wear a visor for at least the rest of the regular season, said he took off the visor he wore in juniors because, as a rookie in 1998, "nobody really played with a visor."

"If I never took it off, I'd be fine with it," he said. "But once you take it off and you see perfect, when you put it back on, you feel a little restricted. It fogs up. The right thing to do would be to come from junior and never take it off."

Visors are now required in juniors, as well as the minor American League.

Lecavalier does not guarantee he will wear one full time. And W Ryan Malone, another of 10 Lightning players without a visor, pretty much rejected the notion outright: "When I've worn a visor in the past, at the Olympics and so forth, it's more of a pain. I feel like I'm wasting more energy cleaning it."

Asked if he should wear a visor, Malone said, "I probably should. But we all are in this from the beginning knowing, knock on wood, there's crazy things that might happen with blades, sticks and pucks. It comes with the territory."

Territory Yzerman said he wants to make a bit safer. "I never wore one until I got hit in the eye with a puck my second-to-last year," he said. "Once you get used to it, it's fine. We don't want people getting injured."

INJURED: D Victor Hedman was lost in the second period with a lower-body injury. With D Eric Brewer out for a second game with a lower-body injury (though coach Guy Boucher said he likely will play this weekend), and D Randy Jones out with a high ankle sprain, the blue line is thin.

RECOVERING: Lecavalier said he was surprised he recovered fast enough to play. He said he is "not 100 percent" and still has discomfort but "even the first night to (Monday night) was a huge improvement."

At Tuesday's skate, Lecavalier wore a tinted visor to shield his eye from the light. "But when I stepped on the ice, I felt fine," he said, and had a clear visor fitted.

Lecavalier tried to sneak into a drill. Boucher said no until the new visor was attached.

JONES SKATES: Jones skated with the team for the first time since his March 7 injury. Boucher said he might be ready for the playoffs. Jones said playing before that "would be difficult to do."

ODDS AND ENDS: Buffalo's Thomas Vanek has 23 goals in 24 career games against Tampa Bay. … C Blair Jones has 177 points in 270 games for AHL Norfolk and is the team's all-time leading scorer. … D Matt Smaby also was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman to ask visorless players to add visors 04/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 12:16am]
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