Tom Poti didn't want to do his final interview of the season on camera.
Given the swath of stitches on the right side of his face, his blood-filled eye, and the black-and-blue bruise surrounding it, his request was totally understandable.
Poti, the Caps' best defensive defenseman, suffered the gruesome injury in the second period of Game 6 against the Montreal Canadiens and couldn't suit up for Game 7. Still, he might be the most relieved player on the team. Despite the pain of losing in the first round, the 33-year-old will be able to play another NHL game -- which was no sure thing in the hours after Mike Cammalleri's backhander hit him square in the eye.
Doctors "are 100 percent confident I'll make a full recovery," Poti said in his first public comments since getting hurt. "Right now it's a situation where it's very blurry. But it's getting better every day. They say within a week, I'll have a 100 percent vision back. The face will take some time to heal."
Poti said the injury -- and surgery the following day -- was extensive.
"There are four fractures in there, so they put four plates in there, a bunch of screws and stitches," he said. "I broke my orbital bone, nasal bone, another one on this side and the bone that holds all my teeth in, that one shattered, too."
Poti said he was temporarily blinded and that he knew right away that he was in trouble, which is why he headed off the ice during a penalty kill.
"As soon as I got hit, my eye went totally black," he said. "I couldn't see anything at all. I was really scared. I couldn't see anything for at least 24 to 30 hours. They didn't know if I would get the sight back."
As the blood has drained from his right eye, however, his vision has slowly returned.
Poti said he'll take a visor home with him this summer and "toy around" with it and "see if I can get used to it." But he stopped short of committing to wearing one next season.
That hardest part of the past few days, he said, was the helpless feeling he had while watching from a suite at Verizon Center as Game 7 unfolded.
"That sucked," he said. "Not only getting hurt, but having to watch the guys go through that tough loss and not being able to do anything about it made it a lot worse."