There was a scary scene at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
With just over 11 minutes remaining in the third period of the Islanders’ 6-2 loss to the Canadiens, New York’s Johnny Boychuk and Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen got tangled up in front of the home team’s net. Boychuk pushed Lehkonen out of the crease, and as the Montreal forward fell, his right skate came up and clipped Boychuk in the face.
(NOTE: Some may consider the video graphic.)
The Islanders defenseman immediately grabbed his face and was in obvious pain on the ice. He quickly got up and skated to the locker room; his hand appeared to be over his left eye.
After the game, Islanders coach Barry Trotz told reporters that Boychuk was still being evaluated.
The exact injury and its severity are difficult to determine from the video. NBC Boston’s Joe Haggerty is reporting it was “a cut to the eyelid rather than the blade directly cutting his eyeball.” Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck told NHL.com’s Brian Compton: “It’s not good. It’s not easy to see. Not good at all.”
Clutterbuck knows what a skate blade can do. He just returned to the lineup Saturday after missing more than two months following surgery to repair a wrist that was cut by a skate blade in December.
Islanders players are not the only ones to be cut this year. The list includes the Maple Leafs’ Ilya Mikheyev, who also underwent surgery on a severed artery and wrist tendon in late December and recently resumed skating.
Earlier on Tuesday, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that NHL general managers at their meetings in Florida were shown new cutproof and Kevlar-reinforced undergarments to help prevent skate cuts like the ones suffered by Clutterbuck and Mikheyev. Kevlar socks became more popular following Erik Karlsson’s surgery in 2013 to repair a sliced Achilles tendon.
Obviously, the Kevlar would not have helped in Boychuk’s case; however, it did appear that the visor he was wearing — which became mandatory in 2013 — took the brunt of the skate’s impact.
Last season, Boychuk took a skate blade to the neck from the Maple Leafs’ Mitchell Marner that luckily did not slice his throat and just left a mark from the incident.
“It was really scary,” Boychuk said the following morning to reporters. “You feel it hit your neck, just thoughts go through your mind. It was really scary. I’m just happy that nothing serious happened.”
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