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Wings' Miller: Lucky not to lose eye

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Drew Miller is counting himself lucky.

"Someone was looking over me on the ice (Tuesday) night," Miller said. "I don't know how I missed my eye. It's (laceration) right across that area."

During a faceoff between Red Wings center Luke Glendening and Senators forward Mark Stone, Miller dove into the circle as Stone went down, his skate blade cutting across the side of Miller's face.

Miller skated off the ice immediately, fearing the worst.

"It happened real quick," said Miller, who returned to practice Wednesday after approximately 60 stitches for two deep lacerations near his right eye. "The centerman was reaching for the faceoff, for the puck, and I came through to help Glennie and the skate just came up.

"I knew right away something bad happened. ... I didn't know exactly what the cut was exactly, I wasn't sure if my eye was gone."

As soon as the area was cleaned, and Miller could see the doctors clearly, "that was a big relief," he said.

And two days later, with his vision unaffected, Miller hopes to return to the lineup tonight for a critical home game against the Bruins.

"We have to talk to some doctors and see how my face reacts for the next 24 hours," Miller said. "We have to see if the swelling gets worse or how it reacts with the skating. We have to wait and see.

"Right now it's just dealing with the cut, the stitches and soreness. Other than that, my eye's good and I got on the ice and felt good."

Miller also felt good after he knew he wasn't hit in the eye.

In fact, once Miller was stitched up and calm, he was planning on returning for the third period.

But doctors — and his wife — convinced him otherwise.

"I was back there for a while getting stitched up, but the doctors and my wife came to the conclusion I shouldn't (return)," Miller said. (The cuts) were pretty deep in the cheek area. We decided it was best to just let my body rest and not go back there with the shock I got from it."

Teammates were relieved to hear about Miller's condition between periods, and glad to see him at practice.

"I couldn't believe how bad it was," forward Justin Abdelkader said. "I could tell when he skated off the ice he was in a lot of pain. He was really scared. It was almost like he knew something bad happened looking at his facial expression."

Said defenseman Niklas Kronwall: "It was a big scare, not only for him, but for all of us. We're all happy that everything seems to have worked out for him."

As for Stone, Miller doesn't have any problems with his part in the play.

In fact, Stone reached out to Miller late Tuesday.

"It's one of those fluke things that happen," Miller said. "I'm just happy that everything's all right."

Wearing a visor also didn't help in this instance because the skate came under the visor.

"If you wear a visor and don't have a full face mask, it's always out there that it could happen," Miller said. "You don't see it happen often. It's one of those plays that you hope never happens to you. When it does, you just hope it's minimal.

"I was lucky with this one."

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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Bruins at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7:30 Thursday, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: NBCSN, FSD/97.1

Outlook: The Red Wings are 1-2-1 against the Bruins. ... The Bruins have won three consecutive games and are within two points of the Red Wings. ... Bruins G Tuukka Rask (32-19-12, .922 SVS) has been steady.