Stitched-up Paille puts on a happy face

BOSTON -- Daniel Paille stepped out from behind the curtain that separates the showers and workout room from the Bruins dressing room. His nose was stuffed with stints and he was sporting a large shiner around his right eye and bruises on the left. But Paille and anyone who saw him take a puck to the face off a shot from Islanders defenseman Steve Staios in the Bruins 6-2 win Monday night knew it could've been worse. He was lucky to be up and even working out Friday morning as the Bruins practiced.

“Right after the game and right after they stitched it up, I went to the mirror and I checked it out and my nose was pretty flat,” said Paille, who is breathing through his mouth for now. “It could’ve been a lot worse though, so I was really happy with the result after the game. I wasn’t too sure what it was but I was happy I was OK.”

A reporter then joked that Paille now fits right in with the bruisers on his line, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

“I guess I got a puck in the face and I look all tough now,” Paille joked. “You know those guys, they take a lot of punches, so I gotta look somewhat different to be a part of that line. But really I got lucky with that broken nose, so I’ll take it.”

Paille also graciously accepted an apology from Staios on Monday night as the Islanders rearguard came down to the Bruins dressing room immediately after the game to check on Paille’s condition.

“I got to speak with Staios after the game and he’s a respectable guy and felt so sorry for it,” Paille said. “It was an accident and it doesn’t happen too often so it was really appreciated. He was very nice about it and he felt awful. I saw it on the replay a couple times and you could tell in his expression on the ice. I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen. It was a scary moment and I’m sure he was relieved as well.”

Bruins head coach Claude Julien knows Staios from coaching him in the Edmonton organization and wasn’t surprised that his former player made the classy gesture.

“It says a lot but it also says a lot about the individual as well,” Julien said. “I’ve known Steve since I was with the Oilers organization and right away when he hit him [Paille] I saw his face and he looked at the bench and he was kind of disgusted and really felt bad. So it didn’t surprise me when Dan told me that as soon as the game was over, he went right over to see how he was doing.”

Paille admitted to the media that for a while now he has been debating whether to stop wearing a visor, something he has done his whole career, but this incident made that decision very easy.

“I’ve been debating for years on whether to wear a visor or not and I always wore one but I always debated on taking it off and see how I’d feel,” Paille said. “But a game like that makes me wonder and I’m glad that I kept it on because I think it could’ve been a lot worse." He added that a doctor told him the hit could have ended his season or even his career.

One thing he said he will never reconsider is sacrificing for his team, and if that means jumping in front of shots, he’s still ready.

“No. It’s part of my job and I know the consequences when I it happens,” Paille said. “I went to block a shot and I’d do it again. If it happens a second time it’s just another freak accident. But I’ve gone in front of so many blocked shots and it’s the first time I got hit in the face. So odds are it probably won’t happen again -- I’ll knock on wood for that."

Paille is out for Saturday’s game against Buffalo and is day-to-day, but Julien and his teammates were happy to see him up and about on Friday.

“He says he’s feeling better every day and obviously he had an opportunity to work out a little bit today and got on the bike a little bit,” Julien said. “So it’s good news and good signs and we’ll keep going day-to-day and see how he does.”