Faced with the prospect of blindness in one eye, Poile focuses on work with Predators

David Poile might never regain sight in his right eye.

Even so, he has no plans to look back or to dwell on the accident that created the current blindness he has experienced for the last two weeks.

“I’m not trying to be a hero or anything else,” he said. “This is not a good situation. It is difficult but I have to – and want to – move on. … There’s different adjustments that [I’m] going to have to make but there’s lots of people that have lost an eye and they’re operating very well and I have to be one of them.”

To that end the Nashville Predators general manager was back at work Thursday for the first time since he was injured. In his first public comments on the matter, he was mostly matter-of-fact and occasionally funny such as when he joked he would have preferred “some interference” from the three or four others who stood close to him when it happened.

He noted that he plans to perform all his duties as usual when the NHL season resumes next week following a two-week break for the Winter Olympics and he intends to travel with the Predators for the majority of their remaining road games.

“I was clearly at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Poile said. “… The last two weeks have been hard. It’s been challenging. … I don’t think it’s anything I can’t handle. It’s just one of those things. It’s really unfortunate or, I guess you could say, unlucky. But it happened and life moves on and I’m ready for the challenge.”

Poile sustained multiple facial fractures when the puck hit him during the Predators’ morning skate, Feb. 6 at Minnesota. His nose was fractured in three places, the orbital bone broke above and below the right eye, and he required 40 stitches above the eye.

He since has undergone three surgical procedures and has had to stay home during the Winter Olympics and watch on television the United States men’s team, for which he also is the general manager. He continues to wear a nose cast, which he said, would come off in the near future.

The hope is that with enough time, at least some vision might return in his eye. For now, he will be fitted with glasses that provide magnification for his left eye and protection for the right.
“The eye was opened up. I needed stitches in the eye,” Poile said. “There’s obviously damage in there that I’ve probably heard but haven’t totally listened to as they gave me the details. All I know is that there is substantial damage such that I don’t have any sight today and they’re holding out hope that something might change as the eye heals and improves. But that’s where we are today.

“…“I sort of knew at the beginning – I got hit and it kind of felt wrong. When I was in Minneapolis they did the operations and said, ‘We’re going to have to send you to Nashville to a specialist.’ You knew that there was something and, of course, I’ve never been able to see out of it since then.”

His focus, though, is on his work and what’s to come for one team (the Predators) that will be four points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot when the season resumes and another (Team USA) that faces Canada in the Olympic semifinals on Friday.

“Already I feel a lot better being able to do my e-mails and my job and what have you and adjusting to my sight from my left eye (only),” he said. “… As I know full well – and I certainly have a greater appreciation today of what the players go through with the injuries they take – that life is a series of adjustments.

“… It’s going to be a fair bit of time before all the wounds are healed. … I think what’s going to take the longest is for the eye to heal up. But [I’m feeling] just a little bit better every day.”