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.”

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.