TAMPA — By switching Thursday from a cage to a visor, Lightning W Marty St. Louis took a step forward in his recovery from facial fractures sustained Dec. 8 when he was hit with a puck during a morning skate.
But coach Guy Boucher said St. Louis still has blurry vision in his left eye, which filled with blood when hit by the puck. Boucher also indicated the condition might be permanent.
"It's been tough for him to find out the inside of his eye might stay the way it is now and the fact that he doesn't have the same vision, which is his No. 1 asset," Boucher said. "It has annoyed him."
St. Louis declined to comment on his eye or that he is wearing a visor for the first time in his NHL career. But head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan cautioned it is too early to say if St. Louis' blurred vision is permanent.
St. Louis, 36, has worn contacts on the ice for a while, and the prescription for the left eye has been updated to accommodate the injury, Mulligan said.
"So at this point, it really is a nonissue as far as his play," Mulligan said. "His on-ice vision is great."
His production hasn't suffered as St. Louis has a goal and 11 points over the 10 games he has played since missing five because of the injury.
Still, Boucher said, getting rid of the full-face cage has to make things easier.
"His eye and his cage and all that really made him feel that he wasn't at his best," Boucher said. "He felt caged in, obviously. He had trouble seeing the puck at the bottom of the cage, so it made him a bit nervous. It's been tough for him to figure out how he's going to deal with that."
MORE ST. LOUIS: St. Louis was mum on if he will keep the visor when cleared to take it off, but Boucher said he believes St. Louis, who always has resisted wearing a visor, will stick with it.
"When you don't live anything that dangerous, you feel invincible and things won't happen to you," Boucher said. "But when you actually live it yourself and you're scared to lose your sight, it does have an effect on your decisions.
"I would like him to keep it. I always wanted him to have one."
MEDICAL MATTERS: W Ryan Shannon (knee) said he would like to resume playing before the Jan. 25-29 All-Star break. … RW J.T. Wyman (pinky) saw a doctor Thursday and said his recovery will take "a little longer."
KILLING TIME: The Lightning was 4-for-4 on the penalty kill Tuesday against the Canucks, who have the league's top power play, and allowed three shots.
"We worked very hard on preventing easy zone entries," Boucher said. "We wanted to make sure they didn't get a lot of set-up time."
The same strategy was in place against Carolina, which entered on a 7-for-17 streak on the power play. The Lightning killed its only shorthanded situation while allowing two shots.
ODDS AND ENDS: D Eric Brewer played his 800th game and RW Dana Tyrell his 100th. … LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie was scratched as Boucher went with seven defensemen. … Carolina's Jay Harrison had a Gordie Howe hat trick: a goal, assist and a fight (with Ryan Malone).