Hurt eye bugs pesky Armstrong

STEVE MACFARLANE Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:01 PM ET

If it wasn’t for bad luck, John Armstrong might not have any at all.

The Calgary Flames prospect has suffered through brutal shoulder injuries and surgeries and lost the better part of two pro seasons.

Against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night in a preseason game at the Saddledome, the 22-year-old centre took a puck in the eye.

And he wears a visor.

“I didn’t see it coming at all,” said Armstrong, who now can’t see much out of his right eye thanks to the swelling that came as a result of the impact.

“I was more scared than anything. My whole face was numb, so it wasn’t very painful. It was more like, ‘I hope my eye is OK.’ More panicking that way.

“I was afraid it might be a lot worse at first.”

Turns out there isn’t any structural damage, and once the swelling goes down and the eye opens up, he can get back to his quest of making the Flames out of training camp.

While his fellow prospects skated Thursday, Armstrong was checking out sticks outside the locker-room.

With two stitches and a rashy red, purple and black right eye, he looks the part of an NHLer.

Whether he can make a case to stick around with the big club has yet to be determined, but with injuries up front, there is certainly more wiggle room for centres.

Mentioned by name this summer by GM Darryl Sutter as a guy he expects to push for a role, Armstrong was pretty close in 2008 when the 6-foot-2, 208-pounder collided with a teammate and hurt his shoulder.

He’s had two surgeries on it since.

He could only suit up for 14 AHL games last season with the Abbotsford Heat.

“That’s the last thing I need is another injury,” Armstrong said.

“The biggest issue for me right now is staying healthy. That’s what I trained for the whole summer. I tried to train my whole body just to stay away from injuries.”

Unfortunately, you can’t prepare for the ones you don’t see coming.

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

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