Canada

‘His modelling days I think are over,’ Barron gets day off after taking skate to face

LAS VEGAS – As his teammates took off their gear Wednesday after practice at T-Mobile Arena, Jets forward Morgan Barron was in an adjacent room looking at the side of his face in the mirror.

A nasty gash that required over 75 stitches to close wasn’t pretty, but it could have been a lot worse.

“His modelling days I think are over,” joked teammate Brenden Dillon.

Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness gave Barron a “well deserved” day off but expects him to be ready for Game 2 of the Jets’ first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

Barron was cut near the right eyebrow by a skate during a goalmouth scramble in the first period of Winnipeg’s 5-1 victory on Tuesday. He returned to the game in the second period with a full cage attached to his helmet.

“We’re quite pleased that there wasn’t nearly the swelling we thought there would be,” Bowness said. “Give credit to our medical staff for taking care of that.

“That was the big concern coming into today, just how bad it got overnight.”

On the play, Barron was one of several players that fell to the ice as the puck hovered near the goal line.

With Vegas goalie Laurent Brossoit sprawled face down, his right foot rose in the air just as Barron was coming downward. Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson was beside Barron and noticed Brossoit’s skate blade was briefly wedged between Barron’s face and visor.

Blood was visible right away and Barron went straight to the locker room for repairs.

“When it happened I was asking — I don’t know if it was (Jets forward Blake) Wheeler — just if his eye was good,” Stephenson said after the Golden Knights practised at City National Arena.

“Obviously a cut is a cut, but if it’s to his eye, you never want to see that. So I’m just glad that he’s OK.”

The Jets had a 2-0 lead when Barron returned to the game. Winnipeg scored again early in the third period and added two late goals to ice the road victory.

“What a warrior,” said Jets forward Nino Niederreiter. “Coming back the way he did was great for our team and you could see the spirit and the love he has for the game. So it was good to see.”

Goaltender skates often have deeper hollowed-out regions that are ground into the bottom of a blade’s surface during sharpening, said Jason McMaster, the Jets’ head equipment manager.

“They’re legit razor blades, especially goalie skates,” he said.

McMaster said the average ‘hollow’ for a player’s skate is three-quarters of an inch, but that goalies often go deeper since they’re looking for more push than glide.

He pegged most netminder blades at three-eighths of an inch, but noted some will even use five-16ths.

“They want that bite when they dig their toe into the ice to push off of in a butterfly style,” he said. “That’s why they use such an aggressive hollow.”

Making goalie skates even more dangerous, he added, was that they often get nicked up due to contact with the posts.

“I think they’re sharper than knives sometimes,” McMaster said. “If you think of the hollow, it’s very thin on its edges. They’re very comparable.”

Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill said his skates are sharpened before every game. He’ll sometimes swap out blades between periods or even during television timeouts if they get dull.

“If you catch it on any type of angle or edge, it’ll cut right through anything,” he said. “I’ve had it a few times even where I’m just trying to clean my blade and you’ll cut your finger. They’re pretty sharp.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2023.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

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