The incident occurred against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 5, when a Kimmo Timonen point shot was deflected and hit Staal in the eye. The result was a gruesome injury that had many worried about permanent damage.
Fortunately, that was not the case.
In fact, Staal and the Rangers are hopeful that he will be able to return before the end of the season.
When meeting with the media after practice, Staal stated that his facial fractures have healed but his eyesight hasn't fully returned, as he is still having issues with peripheral vision in his injured eye. He stated that he is still adjusting to wearing a visor and needs to improve his conditioning.
In the wake of the unfortunate incident, the debate about mandatory visors was rekindled. Staal stated that his opinion has changed and that he will be voting to grandfather in mandatory visors for future NHL players when the NHL Players' Association polls the players this summer.
Obviously, Staal was able to obtain a unique perspective of the dangers one can face without a visor. Clearly the threat of potentially losing his career and his eyesight was an impactful experience that he fully appreciates. The moment also changed the views of his family, as his brothers Eric and Jordan Staal began wearing visors after the incident.