Vitale was placed on injured reserve on Monday, but it wasn’t announced until Wednesday that the 30-year-old forward suffered a fractured orbital bone in a fight with Boston’s Kevan Miller.
If you’re not sure what an orbital bone is, you definitely don’t want a broken one.
The fight was ugly and it’s very clear what punch did the damage, with Vitale ducking his head and pulling away from the fight immediately afterward. Vitale was feeling around his eye as he went to the locker room instead of the penalty box.
That game was Vitale’s season debut after being a healthy scratch in the first four games of the season.
Last year he played 70 games for the ‘Yotes, scoring three goals and six assists while averaging 11:14 a night.
With Vitale out for at least a month, the Coyotes have recalled 24-year-old forward Matthias Plachta.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.