When Cade Fairchild went down to the ice just after being struck in the face with a puck, it looked to be a serious eye injury for the Chicago Wolves defenseman. Fairchild caught the puck flush in his right eye along the boards in front of the Wolves' penalty box.
He stayed down on the ice for several moments, yet play went on, forcing him to get up and make his way to the bench on his own. He reported later he'd been immediately blinded in that eye and it stayed that way for about an hour.
After the game, Fairchild exited Allstate Arena with a large white bandage covering the eye completely. The next day, Wolves coach John Anderson told reporters there had been bleeding around Fairchild's eye.
But by Tuesday's practice, the word on Fairchild was much more positive. Anderson said although Fairchild won't play this weekend, the injury isn't expected to affect his sight long-term. The team is being cautious, but Anderson didn't seem to think the injury will keep Fairchild out of action for long.
"He’s wearing a patch so he can’t see out of it now," Anderson said, joking when asked if Fairchild could see. "I told him I was going to get a parrot for his shoulder."
Fairchild was just one of four Wolves players injured during Saturday's and Sunday's home games against the Milwaukee Admirals. Newcomer Derek Nesbitt left Saturday's game in the first period with a lower-body injury, and defenseman Mark Cundari also left that game in the second period with a lower-body injury.
On Sunday, forward Tyler Shattock took a puck to his hand, and is considered day-to-day due to swelling that remains.
Already the Wolves were playing without left wing Sergey Andronov (upper body) and center Pat Cannone (hand), giving Chicago six players likely out of the lineup for the time being.
Andronov skated Tuesday for the first time since getting re-injured in a Feb. 7 game at Iowa. In all, he's missed eight of the past nine games since Jan. 26 at Hamilton.
Cannone was expected to have an x-ray on his hand Tuesday, but Anderson said he still considers Cannone doubtful for this weekend when the Wolves play another three-games-in-three-days stretch.
Anderson said a harsh schedule contributed to last weekend's rash of injuries. Teams were not allowed to practice during the All-Star break, giving them four days off before playing games on three straight days.
"This is what happens when you don’t practice," Anderson said. "You get four days off and now you’re coming back, you don’t get out of the way of pucks. I know these are young guys, but it’s a tough game. The NHL doesn’t even play three in threes."