CALGARY, AB -- Jakub Nakladal feared the worst.
As he went down to the ice after taking a high stick from Pittsburgh's Tom Kuhnhackl on Saturday, he knew the primary point of contact was his right eye. The two had bumped into each prior to Kuhnhackl's stick going up, forcing his visor up and exposing his eyes.
"I've seen, maybe twice, similar incidents to this and it was pretty bad. My friend, in the Czech Republic, he missed the whole season. He [had to have] surgery," Nakladal said.
"I was pretty scared because you never know what can happen, especially if you get a hit to your eye. But [thankfully], it was not too bad and now I feel pretty good ... I'm pretty happy."
Nakladal left the game at 11:42 of the second period and did not return as the medical staff meticulously checked out his eye to see if his retina had sustained any damage in the incident. After a few frenzied minutes, the prognosis looked much more optimistic than it did when he was led off the ice by the training staff.
"I thought, at first, it would be so bad. After a couple of minutes, it was getting better and better."
Right now, Nakladal looks worse than he is feeling. His eye is filled with blood but his vision is fine.
"I can see. There's just blood. I look scary but my eye is pretty okay," he chuckled.
Sunday was a day off for the Flames so Nakladal was able to get in plenty of recovery time before he took to the ice for the pre-game skate this morning. While he is in good spirits and his vision is intact, he will not play tonight when Calgary hosts the San Jose Sharks at 7:00 PM MT (SN-West, FAN 960).
"Obviously, you look at his eye and it's pretty scary. We dodged a big bullet on that one," Bob Hartley said. "You look at his eye and there's no damage to his eyesight. We were very fortunate on that one. His eye is full of blood so we talked with the medical staff and we decided it would be better to, as a precautionary measure, to give him tonight off."
In 12 games with the Flames this season, Nakladal has scored one goal and two points. He signed a one-year, entry-level deal with Calgary last spring.