All stitched up, Stalberg says he's lucky
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After being hit in the mouth by a puck, Blackhawks left wing Viktor Stalberg will replace his half shield with a full face shield.
George LeClaire | Staff Photographer/file
Viktor Stalberg knows it could have been worse — much worse, especially after seeing Sidney Crosby suffer a broken jaw on a similar play.
Stalberg needed "50 to 60 stitches," by his estimation, to close the cut he suffered Friday when he was struck near the mouth by a puck off the stick of Ryan Getzlaf.
"I was trying to look in the mirror the other day and count it up," Stalberg said Thursday. "There are still a couple you can't really see. The doctor said it was 50 to 60, something like that — 20 on the inside and a little bit more on the outside.
"It doesn't look great, but it doesn't feel too bad, to be honest with you. You cut so many nerves, my face is still numb, and you can't really move it like you want to. I'm sure when the swelling goes down and those nerves heal up it will feel a lot better."
The Blackhawks winger is playing with a full face shield, but doesn't believe they should be mandatory even if it would have prevented what happened to him.
"Visors are a good thing," Stalberg said. "I think it should be every player's option, but I'm definitely not against making it mandatory for rookies coming into the league to wear a visor. Full face masks are too much of a hassle. I don't think that will ever be an option. You can deal with some teeth or a broken bone or stitches, but it's tougher to deal with getting a stick in your eye."
Pittsburgh's Crosby suffered a broken jaw last week when he was struck by a puck and Stalberg knows that could have been him. Crosby needed surgery and is out indefinitely.
"I'm real lucky, I guess," Stalberg said. "It hit in a great spot and just cut me open, nothing else. It could have been a lot worse."
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