Stalberg knows he's lucky cut wasn't worse
Blackhawks winger Viktor Stalberg knows it could have been worse – a lot worse, especially after seeing Sidney Crosby suffer a broken jaw on a similar play.
Stalberg needed “50 to 60 stitches,” by his estimation, to close the cut he suffered last Friday when he was struck near the mouth by a puck off the stick of Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf.
“I was trying to look in the mirror the other day and count it up,” Stalberg said Thursday. “There are still a couple you can’t really see. The doctor said it was 50 to 60, something like that – 20 on the inside and a little bit more on the outside.
“It doesn’t look great, but it doesn’t feel too bad, to be honest with you. You cut so many nerves, my face is still numb, and you can’t really move it like you want to. I’m sure when the swelling goes down and those nerves heal up it will feel a lot better.”
Stallberg is playing with a full face shield, but doesn’t believe they should be made mandatory even if it would have prevented what happened to him.
“I think visors are a good thing,” Stalberg said. “I think it should be every player’s option, but I’m definitely not against making it mandatory for rookies coming into the league to wear a visor. Full face masks are too much of a hassle. I don’t think that will ever be an option. You can deal with some teeth or a broken bone or stitches, but it’s tougher to deal with getting a stick in your eye.”
Pittsburgh’s Crosby suffered a broken jaw last week when he was struck by a puck and Stalberg knows that could have been him. Crosby needed surgery and is out indefinitely.
“I’m real lucky, I guess,” Stalberg said. “It hit in a great spot and just cut me open, nothing else. It could have been a lot worse.”
Meanwhile, Patrick Kane and Niklas Hjalmarsson both will play tonight against St. Louis. Kane missed practice on Wednesday with an illness while Hjalmarsson wasn't in Thursday's morning skate.