Trip to Stanley Cup finals helps Duncan Keith cope with loss of 7 teeth

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keithteeth.jpgDuncan Keith lost seven teeth in this afternoon’s game between the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks, but advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals must numb some of that pain. Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune captured some great quotes from the chopper-lite Keith.

“I just smashed all my teeth out,” Keith said as he opened his mouth to reveal the damage. “They numbed it after it happened; they just stuck a bunch of needles in there and froze it all up. It feels a lot better when we win. It would probably be hurting a lot more if we lost.”

Keith lost four teeth on the bottom and three on top and said afterward he had a long night ahead of him at the dentist.

“I took one breath and it felt like my whole mouth was missing so I knew there were some teeth gone,” Keith said. “I saw a couple fall out and I had one in the back of my throat. I could feel it and coughed it out. A bunch of them disintegrated it felt like.

“That sort of thing happens. I’m not the only guy who’s ever lost bunch of teeth or been hit in the mouth with a puck or stick and I’m sure I won’t be the last guy.”

Last weekend, I discussed James Mirtle’s fantastic piece about the emotional and physical trauma hockey players go through when they deal with catastrophic teeth injuries. It’s one of hockey’s oldest and most beloved punchlines, but behind the laughter will be some pretty serious pain for Keith.

That being said, Keith barely missed a beat despite the disturbing injury. He ended up picking up an assist while logging his typical huge amount of minutes on ice. Yup, hockey players are ridiculously tough.

Besides, Keith’s teammate Patrick Sharp found a silver lining for the Norris Trophy-nominated defenseman.

“I told him it’s kind of a blessing in disguise because now he’s going to get some nice fake teeth,” teammate Patrick Sharp said. “He’s going to have a great smile in a couple weeks. That’s playoff hockey (written) all over it. A guy takes one in the face, picking out his teeth in the locker room (and) comes back. He assisted on the Bolland goal there, created the whole goal there by taking a big hit. He’s walking around, skating around the ice, talking to us before the power play, mumbling what we were supposed to do. I don’t think anybody understood what he was talking about.”

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.