Washington centre Eric Belanger spent part of the day in a dentist’s chair after what appeared to be an accidental and unpenalized Marc-Andre Bergeron high stick took out eight of his teeth with 12 1/2 minutes remaining in the first period of Friday night’s game against the Canadiens.
Belanger immediately headed for the bench, where cameras caught him removing one of the teeth himself. Between the second and third periods Belanger had some exposed roots in his teeth trimmed in between periods. . He believes he will be available for Game 6 Monday night in Montreal, but between now and then he faces several more hours in a dentist’s chair Belanger, who is the playoff faceoff winning percentage leader at 68.8 himself called the high stick an accident. He told reporters today, “The stick, he made a pass and the stick just came up, and I felt my teeth shatter right away. I knew I was in trouble. But I mean it’s playoffs, and I came back and tried to help the team win.”
Belanger’s coach, Bruce Boudreau took a different view. “To me, it wasn’t a follow-through,” Boudreau said. “A follow-through is usually on a stick that is from a shot. This was a pass where Bergeron’s stick was on the ice. When he passed it, it was a sliding thing, and his stick came up more out of protection than anything else, but it came up with blade first and caught poor Eric right in the mouth.”
Belanger does not wear a mouth guard because, several years ago, he lost his three front teeth on the top, making it impossible to bite down on a guard.
Here is a TSN replay of the incident