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Paille: "It could have been worse..."

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- After seeing a tweeted picture of Daniel Paille's face on Friday, @NHLBruins follower @EDeArruda3 wrote: "Tis' a flesh wound! Tell Dan to take his time and get healthy!"

Paille would have appreciated the concern mixed with the Monty Python-inspired levity. Yesterday, Dan, one of the most personable players in a very personable B's locker room, spent most of the time before and after his talk with the media telling concerned reporters that despite the stitches, bandages and black eyes he will be just fine.

"It was a scary moment," said Paille of the play during Monday's 6-2 win over the Islanders in which a slap shot found his face. "I felt the puck hit my visor from a one-time shot from (Steve) Staios.

"I saw it kind of bouncing a little bit. I braced myself for an upper shot, but I wasn’t expecting it to hit my face.

"Luckily my visor caught the puck; I still got broken nose out of it, but it could have been a lot worse. I’m definitely happy with this result, with what it could have been."

Only in hockey, right? But Paille's point is well taken. His visor likely saved him from very serious injury.

"I’ve got about twenty stitches. I’ve got some more underneath the little cast here and just a broken nose. I was lucky to not get hit in the eyes or any other parts that didn’t get the break, so I was really fortunate with that," explained Paille going around his rubber ravaged face. "I felt it hit the visor dead-on.

"I’m glad I had it on. I’ve been debating for years, so in that type of situation I guess it’s worth it. I’ll take a broken nose any day if it saves me like that.

"It was an unfortunate bounce, but I’m glad that I came out of it okay," he said.

Concerned calls, e-mails and text messages poured into the Paille's smart phones.

"I just made sure to let them know that I was alright," said Paille. "I had a lot of family and friends worried about me. I know it looked pretty bad, but it’s just another thing where I got lucky."

Lucky? Again, only in hockey. But there was plenty of concern from players on the ice, as well and Staios made sure to get to see Paille postgame.

"I was just finishing getting stitched up and he came and apologized for what he had done," said Paille. "I accepted right away — it was just a freak accident.

"I told him I saw the puck jump on him before he even shot, so it’s just one of those things where the puck came up quicker than you think. We kind of joked about how hard it was though because he said he’s never shot that hard before. But I appreciate what he did after the game. He’s a respectable guy who’s played over a thousand games so he’s a class act.

"I had no hard feelings about it and I’m just going to go about my business and same with him, so I hope he’s a little bit more relieved and just focused on playing."

Head Coach Claude Julien wasn't surprised that Staios had shown up at the training room door.

"I’ve known Steve since when I was with the Oilers organization," said Julien. "Right away when he hit him I saw his face.

"He looked at the bench and was kind of disgusted and really felt bad, so it didn’t surprise me when Dan told me the other day that as soon as the game was over he went right over to see how he was doing.

"It was a total accident," added Julien. "We could see that right off the bat when he got hit. The puck went up so quickly that there was no way that puck was flat on his stick."

Informed of the fans' concern for his health, Paille smiled and said, "I’ve had lots of support--supporting myself and my family.

"I’ve been getting phone calls and messages and deliveries to my home, so people have been great support and I’m just here to tell them that I feel pretty good.

"It’s just a broken nose — it could have been worse."

And that fact is not lost on Paille's teammates.

"Yeah. He says he’s feeling better every day," said Julien. "He had an opportunity to work out a little bit today and got on the bike and stuff like that, so that’s good news and good signs.

"So we’ll keep going day-to-day with him and see how he does."

In the short term, Paille will take @EDeArruda3's advice.

"I’m just going to take it slow right now," said Paille. "The team is playing really well -- they played well last night -- so I think I’m going to try to take my time, make sure I’m really healthy, being able to breathe."

That will just fine by New England's hockey fans, because they all just breathed a sigh of relief.
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