It’s one for the books.
Matt Stajan, the Maple Leafs’ leading point-getter has been knocked out of the lineup by a wayward soccer ball.
Stajan was hurt Saturday afternoon in Washington when a number of Leafs took to a small room to warm up with a soccer ball.
Stajan said Monday that he was playing but had stopped to reach for something when a ball caught him flush on the eye.
“I was bent over to grab something and the ball came flying my way. I didn’t react to defend myself or my eye didn’t close because I wasn’t paying attention to it,” he said.
The result was bleeding and a buildup of pressure behind the right eye. Stajan had to wait for the bleeding to calm down before he could take a flight home but eye drops have eased discomfort.
Stajan is expected to miss one to two weeks and must limit his activity in the early going.
“I really can’t do any strenuous activity because of the pressure and blood flow through the eye. You don’t want anything that could cause a lot of damage and maybe surgery. I’m still a little blurry and foggy but every day it’s gotten better. Hopefully by the weekend I can get myself back on the ice.”
The 25-year-old Stajan has prospered under coach Ron Wilson and has 30 points (nine goals and 21 assists) in 34 games.
Stajan scoffed at the notion that limbering up with a soccer ball might constitute a hazard for hockey players.
“That’s the way we warm up. As soon as I’m back I will be playing again.”
Nor did he care that his name would be added to the list of athletes who have lost time due to bizarre injuries (see attached)
“I don’t care about that,” he said. “Freak accidents happen. You see them all the time.”