March 14, 2011
Leafs' Brent "really scared" after eye incidentForward given clearance to play with visor
By DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency
TORONTO - After the Leafs’ morning skate on Monday, forward Tim Brent described being hit in the eye with a stick as “one of those scary things that happen.”
Brent’s left eye took the brunt of Tyler Ennis’ stick during a 4-3 victory over Buffalo on Saturday night. The forward had to leave the game, but was given clearance to play against Tampa last night.
“I lost my vision right away. I couldn’t see out of it for the first five 10 minutes,” said Brent, who wasn’t wearing a visor. “It’s the first time I’ve ever actually felt the blade hit my eyeball, which is not a great feeling. I was really scared I lost it … Originally, there was a little cut and I think the blood went in my eye and blinded me a little bit. It was frightening. It makes you wonder why guys don’t wear shields.”
It makes Leafs coach Ron Wilson wonder, too. Wilson admonished Brent to media after the victory over the Sabres.
“He mentioned it (that Brent should wear a visor) after the fact,” the forward said, chuckling about Wilson’s comment. “Everybody has 20-20 hindsight.”
Brent, who wore a shield in junior and his last couple of seasons in the American league, said he had been thinking of going back to a visor anyway.
“It’s something the doctors are making me do now,” Brent said. “I had planned to do for next season anyway, but it’s something you kind of don’t want to do halfway through the season to kind of get used to it. But it’s kind of forced my hand now.”
Brent said he stopped wearing the visor because “you feel like you can see a little better, like you are in the game more.” But he added that he rather would sacrifice a little clarity and still have two eyes.
Don’t get too excited about the Leafs chances of making the playoffs. Even forward Clarke MacArthur realizes it’s more than just a bit of an uphill battle.
“When I look at our schedule, we need to win at least 10 out of 13 (games),” MacArthur said prior to last night’s game against Tampa Bay. “We’re going to need at least 90 points from what it looks like to get in.”
The Leafs who entered last night’s contest with 70 points have been playing some solid hockey. Since the all-star break, they had a .675 win percentage heading into last night. But that’s nothing new to the Leafs, who have played well since the all-star and Olympic breaks post-lockout.
From 2005-06 until now, they have been a .600 hockey club after the breaks.
But remember, they haven’t made it to the playoffs since the lockout.
With the head-hit issue being discussed front and centre at the NHL general managers’ meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., Swedish forward Fredrik Sjostrom was asked if European league’s were dealing with the same issue.
“I know for a fact that there are a lot of concussions in Sweden, too,” Sjostrom said. “But I don’t think they have the exact same problem, because the hockey itself is not that physical. I don’t know if it has to do with mentally, or what it is. But the big rink, too, it’s harder to get a hit in Sweden, I find. You’re so far away from everybody. Here, you’re all tight (because of the smaller rink) and it’s pretty hard not to run into somebody for a whole game.”
Coach Wilson on hearing Brent has seen the light and decided to wear a visor: “I wish all our players wore visors … But now I have to question his toughness,” Wilson said, tongue firmly planted in cheek … Wilson on the tragic death of Sabres great Rick Martin, who died Sunday in a one-car accident at the age of 59: “He was an exciting player. That’s too young to die.”