New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello shared the good news that defenseman Johnny Boychuk is okay after taking a skate to the face during Tuesday night’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
“There’s been no damage to his eye,” Lamoriello confirmed on Wednesday. “He had quite a night.”
During the third period, Boychuk was jockeying for position with Artturi Lehkonen when the Canadiens forward tripped over Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov. While falling to the ice, Lehkonen’s foot shot up where the skate blade made contact with Boychuk’s face, specifically around the eye area.
“He didn’t know what happened, he just felt the skate blade get his eye, but fortunately it just got the eyelid,” Lamoriello added.
It took 90 stitches to repair the damage.
“The plastic surgeon took care of it. I don’t want to exaggerate with the stitches because they’re very small,” Lamoriello said. “He’ll be fine. It’s just a matter of time with the eye opening up and him feeling good.”
There is no timetable for Boychuk’s return to the ice, though that’s secondary concerns after what he went through at the Barclays Center.
His absence does provide another key absence within the Islanders’ blue line.
Adam Pelech — who had arguably been the team’s best defenseman this season — was lost for the season due to a lower-body injury in January.
But Boychuk’s scary moment was just the latest of a disturbing trend involving Islanders players being injured by skate blades.
Forward Cal Clutterbuck’s wrist was sliced after a run-in with Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins in mid-December where he suffered damage to his tendons.
He didn’t return until Saturday afternoon’s game, also against the Bruins.
His fourth-linemate, Casey Cizikas, is also working his way back from a leg laceration experienced when he was cut by the skate of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provarov.
In 63 games this year, Boychuk recorded two goals, 11 points, and 130 hits. Young blueliner Noah Dobson will likely be in the running to step in for the 36-year-old while he recovers.