Johnny Boychuk had a very scary skate-to-face incident last night, yet another scary skate-to-parts-we’d-rather-not event in a season that seems full of them (Cal Clutterbuck’s wrist, Casey Cizikas’ leg).
Like Clutterbuck and Cizikas, Boychuk is likely to be out a while. But fortunately, the worst fears were not realized and Boychuk’s eyesight should not be affected.
That was the early word last night, but general manager Lou Lamoriello confirmed that news today along with noting that Boychuk needed NINETY STITCHES TO HIS EYELID:
“There has been no damage to his eye. He had quite a night. ... He felt the skate blade get his eye, but fortunately it just got the eyelid. It took 90 stitches to fix, a plastic surgeon took care of it. So I don’t want to exaggerate with the stitches because they do, you know, very small stitches, but there were 90 of them. He will be fine.”
Boychuk Injury Update from Lou Lamoriello: “Johnny Boychuk is ok. Fortunately the skate blade just got the eyelid. It took 90 stitches for a plastic surgeon to fix. But he’ll be fine.” #Isles pic.twitter.com/vYfsx9MAYO— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 4, 2020
With the Islanders in the midst of a very alarming slump, I know I wasn’t the only one whose Concern for The Roster side of the brain (you know, that’s the one opposite the Concerned for Beloved Players side of the brain) soon went to thinking about what this will mean for Noah Dobson.
"You never want to see that happen to anyone. We were all really worried about him. After the game he sent a nice text to all of us. Definitely happy to see him doing well." - Josh Bailey on Johnny Boychuk pic.twitter.com/m7sdmYOSQZ— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 4, 2020
Dobson, the talented rookie who has been on the roster because he can’t be assigned to the AHL, has been supported by Boychuk all year but also forced to play on his off side when in the lineup. Lamoriello confirmed that Boychuk’s absence means Dobson will step in...but left unsaid is it means we’ll get to see Dobson on his natural right side.
We don’t know if that means Barry Trotz will unshelter him, but certainly Trotz prepares natural-sided pairings, and certainly Trotz’s heavy reliance on five defensemen when Dobson has been in the lineup has been, to use the gentle phrasing of our times, sub-optimal.
Meanwhile, and related to all of this: Lamoriello also raised the prospect of recalling Thomas Hickey — the veteran who’s been in the AHL all season due to the Dobson situation — on an emergency basis.
Lou Lamoriello says there’s no timetable for Johnny Boychuk’s return, and that Noah Dobson will replace him. Said Thomas Hickey might be called up on an emergency basis because a couple other D are banged up. #NHL #Isles #Islanders— Brian Heyman (@bheyman99) March 4, 2020
We don’t know which other defensemen are “banged up,” but we’ll likely deduce it if Hickey does get a recall and appears in a game.
Meanwhile, as acknowledged by Trotz this week, Lamoriello re-iterated that Casey Cizikas is likely to skate soon but still a couple of weeks away from returning to the lineup. The center’s absence has been felt, as the Islanders offense and forward group overall underperforms during this losing skid.
Threats have been made and the specter of re-inserting Andrew Ladd or Ross Johnston has been raised.
The Islanders are in Ottawa Thursday night, for Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s first appearance back home against his old team.