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


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.”

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: