WILMINGTON It sometimes takes horrific accidents or grisly injuries to get people talking in the hockey world, and that was the case again this week when Chris Pronger suffered a nasty eye injury.
Pronger was lucky enough to avoid permanent damage to his sight when a stick nailed the Flyers defenseman right outside the right eye, and the intimidating blueliner ran to the dressing room in obvious pain. The news was good for Pronger and he should be back within a matter of weeks after dodging a series of serious injuries, but the Flyers captain will be wearing a protective visor when he returns to the Philly lineup.
Some players ditch the visors when they got to the professional ranks and some waver back and forth about the visors usefulness, but Claude Julien said he attempts to gently push his players toward protective visors whenever the opportunity presents itself. Julien was a hockey player that dealt with eye injuries during his playing career when visors were essentially nonexistent, and the Bs coach said anybody from top line skill players to fourth line grinders should be able to wear a protective visor.
Today players are coming up through the ranks with a visor and theyre used to playing with them, said Julien. I dont know why theyd want to take them off. When I played those things were just coming into the league and nobody had played with them before. You just couldnt get adjusted to it.
Today I find that players come into the league and sometimes take them off, and it can partially be because they play a tough game and theyre going to drop their gloves. But there are a lot of guys that drop the gloves and wear visors. If it were me Id protect myself any way I could. Id encourage anybody to wear the visor, but once you turn pro and youve got your contract it all becomes your responsibility. Its hard for us to force anybody, so all we can do is suggest that they keep a visor on.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL.
The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season.
It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents.
“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”
Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari.
“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”
That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo.
*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other.
*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week.
*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda.
*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out.
*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL.
*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that.