SUN Hockey Pool

Moreau sports a visor

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Sporting a tinted visor, Ethan Moreau looks more like a young scoring sensation making a fashion statement than the rugged captain of the Edmonton Oilers.

But his new shield is all about necessity and has little to do with style.

Yesterday Moreau was back practising with his teammates for the first time since taking a stick in the eye less than two weeks ago.

"I felt good on the ice," Moreau said. "I have an appointment to check with my eye doctor, and hopefully from here on in, everything will be great and I'll get to play (tonight)."

Whether Moreau is back in the lineup when the Oilers host the Atlanta Thrashers tonight (7:30 p.m.) at Rexall Place will be up to head coach Craig MacTavish and the team medical staff.

Considering how bad the injury first appeared to be, it's a marvel Moreau is able to play at all.

In the dying moments of the Oilers' 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 28, Moreau was poked in the eye by the stick of Wild forward Antti Miettinen.

The Oilers captain left the game in obvious distress and did not travel with the team on their recent four-game road trip.

"I was extremely concerned and scared when I got hit," Moreau said. "I couldn't see right away and I never had an eye injury like that before, so I had nothing to compare it to. I just assumed the worst - I couldn't see anything for a couple of days.

"It was extremely nerve-racking waiting to get your eyesight back. But I did, I was extremely fortunate, but it was a tough week for myself, my family and my friends."

The vision in Moreau's right eye is still slightly blurred and the pupil dilated.

The reason for the tinted visor is to help shield him from the intensity of the light in the arena.

"I didn't notice much of a difference with the visor, although I haven't played a game with it yet," Moreau said.

"I don't think it will be a problem - some of the best players in the game wear visors. I don't have any concern how it's going to affect my play. My pupil being dilated is probably permanent, so it's a little bit more susceptible to cataract and glaucoma and things like that, which is probably the biggest side effect of all this. And I'm sensitive to light."

Moreau will wear the visor for the rest of the season and would probably be wise to sport it for the remainder of his career.

Equating a visor to a player's toughness is as narrow-minded as questioning a person's courage for using a seatbelt in a car.

"I've never had a stance on visors and I've never had an intelligent answer why I didn't wear one, because there isn't one," Moreau said.

"I just chose not to, and now I'll wear one."

THRASHERS ON A ROLL

Despite sitting 13th in the East standings and well out of a playoff spot, the Thrashers head into tonight's game having won three straight and four of their last five. Atlanta is on a three-game road trip which began Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Colorado.

REASONER RETURNS

Tonight marks the return of former Oilers forward Marty Reasoner, who signed with the Thrashers last summer. Reasoner has 10 goals and 13 assists in 64 games for Atlanta this season. He had 11 goals and 14 assists in 82 games last year with the Oilers.


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