Nashville Predators general manager David Poile has spent his life involved in the sport of hockey. That lifetime of experience has taught him that standing on the bench while practice or a morning skate is going on is a bad idea.
Two weeks ago, Poile was having a conversation in the tunnel to the team’s locker room at Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center when an errant puck struck him in the right eye. Right away, he knew it was bad.
“I don’t like going on the bench,” he said. “I hardly ever go on the bench. I sort of always stay down in the hallway just because of situations like that.”
He fractured his nose in three different places and his orbital bone was broken both above and below his eye. Poile was wearing a protective cast over his eye Thursday.
Thursday, Poile returned to work at Bridgestone Arena for the first time since the injury and met with the media to discuss the incident. He was in good spirits and even displayed some of his familiar dry wit.
“As we say in hockey, it was a seeing eye puck,” he said. “There were three or four people that were sort of in front of me and to the side of me. Not that I wanted them to get hit, but I thought there could have been some interference along the way. I got dinged and I got dinged really good.”
That statement led with a cliché that is among the most common in hockey, only it is usually reserved for a goal that somehow gets by a goaltender who seemingly otherwise should have had it.
That cliché, while unintentional, preceded Poile revealing something that made it ironic in the worst possible way.
“The downside of this whole thing unfortunately is the right eye,” he said. “Unfortunately, I have no sight in my right eye. The doctors are still holding hope that in time that there will be some sight coming back there.”
Sporting a fading bruise over the eye, Poile is still experiencing pain in the area. The pain is being managed with medication, but he has had improvement in that area.
He is still weeks away from being able to travel, but he hopes to return to full duty soon.
Not only did the incident take Poile away from the Predators, it also caused him to miss his scheduled trip to Sochi, Russia for the Olympic Games. As general manager of Team USA, Poile has stayed in contact with the rest of the management staff of the Americans, who will take on Canada in a semifinal matchup Friday.
Poile knows that he has a long road ahead. Getting back to work is a huge step forward for him though.