For the first time in four and a half years, Devils Captain Andy Greene was forced to miss playing in an NHL game.
While defending his side of the ice, Greene took a shot off the arm and had the puck ride up and catch him in the eye. The play looked innocent enough, the type of thing that you see with regularity over the course of an NHL season, however, the shot did enough damage to force Greene out of the Devils line up, his iron man streak over at 350 straight NHL games.
That is no small feat in today’s league where players are bigger and faster than ever. One of Greene’s knocks coming out of college was that he was too small, so it’s even more amazing that Greene was able to put together such an impressive streak.
The Devils Captain met with reporters on Wednesday evening to discuss the injury.
“It’s just a shot off the arm there,” Greene said in his first public comments since the injury. “It’s just pretty sore right now but compared to what it was on say, Friday or Saturday, it’s way better.
“Obviously everyone thought it was my eye but it kind of just got poked. The puck hit me in the eye but, luckily, knock on wood, it wasn’t bad. I just got poked in the eye but after a few seconds it was fine. It just hit me and you start going like this (Greene closed his right eye tightly to demonstrate). You can’t see anything. For five seconds I was worried, it was watering. After that, it was fine. But it was the shot that did the damage.”
While Greene is feeling better, there is no immediate return in his near future.
“Hopefully everything keeps progressing the way it is and I have a shot for the end there. That’s what we’re hoping. We’ll take it day by day here.”
Still, it is a good sign that the Devils brought Greene along on the western Canada road trip. The Devils will need him to return to the lineup as soon as possible.