The New York Islanders were dealt a bigger blow than just losing to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
During the third period, defensive player Johnny Boychuk was accidentally struck in the face by Canadien player Arrturi Lehkonen’s skate blade. He was immediately taken out of the game and received medical treatment.
General manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters after the game that Boychuk, 36, did not suffer any damage to his eyes but required 90 stitches on his eyelid.
“He felt the skate blade get his eye, but fortunately, it just got the eyelid,” Lamoriello said.
“It took 90 stitches to fix; a plastic surgeon took care of it,” he added. “I don’t want to exaggerate with the stitches because they do very small stitches, but there were 90 of them.”
According to Boston.com, Boychuk had been defending the Islanders’ net when Lehkonen fell, resulting in his legs going in the air and his right skate blade slashing Boychuk under his visor.
“He’ll be fine,” Lamoriello said. “It’s just a matter of time with the eye opening up and him feeling good.”
Boychuk tweeted about the incident on Wednesday and thanked fans for their supportive messages.
“Thank you to everyone for the positive messages and thoughts!” Boychuk wrote. “I am extremely grateful. Please know they did not go unheard. Luckily for me the skate only cut my eyelid. Sorry for the late response…facial recognition wasn’t working… thank you again my friends.”
Boychuk is not the first of the Islanders to be recently injured via an opponent’s skate blade.
According to NHL.com, forward Cal Clutterback was cut in the right arm by the skate of Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron on Dec 19. He had to miss more than two months of games.
Center Cassey Cizikas has been sidelined since his left leg was cut by the skate of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov during their Feb. 11 matchup.
The Islanders’ record currently stands at 35-22-8. They are ranked 5th in the NHL Metropolitan Division and play their next game on Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.
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