You can cue up more than a few cringe-worthy clips on YouTube of Coyotes defenseman Rusty Klesla getting hit in the face last season.
After one painful incident, he returned to action wearing a full cage, for extra protection. Klesla played for the Czech club HC Trinec during the lockout in the fall and, as required, wore a face shield and eventually adjusted to it.
Klesla was talking the morning after a particularly scary injury to the right eye of the Rangers’ Marc Staal, who was hit by a deflected puck. Staal was not wearing a protective visor and the injury has renewed fierce debate about making them mandatory for NHL players.
“When I [first] went to NHL, I just took the shield off and thought it was something, better vision,” Klesla said Wednesday. “I got so used to it.... I got hit a couple of times last year and I put it on. You can get used to it.