He felt his teeth shatter.
April 26, 2010 9:49 PM   Subscribe


 
There are things, healthwise, that he should've gotten checked out, as with any head/facial injury, that should've come before finishing the game.

But I am going to stop short of condemning, because adrenaline and the moment can cloud a person's judgment. I broke a finger playing volleyball in high school and continued to play (and serve) for another half hour or so until my finger had doubled in size, was a rich purplish black, and ached like hell.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:03 PM on April 26, 2010


Just another day in the NHL playoffs... those dudes are pretty tough. I saw Adam Foote of Colorado get his head split open against the boards at a playoff game against Detroit. Blood pouring out like a faucet, he gets taken the the locker room, stitched up, came back the next period to finish the game.

But my favorite has gotta be this one: Scott Stevens of New Jersey lays out Paul Kariya. Great video (SLYT) on the hit & Kariya's revenge in the same game. (careful LOUD credits music at the very end)
posted by Lukenlogs at 10:08 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


cmgonzalez: It's the Stanley Cup Playoffs man. Nothing comes before finishing the game. Nothing!
posted by Justinian at 10:23 PM on April 26, 2010


This post is the first time I saw the video of Belanger's on the bench dentistry and yeah, that's pretty gruesome.

Another example of playoff hockey intensity from the first round, Ian Laperriere taking a puck to the face (there's a video in the article) in game 5 of the Flyers/Devils series. He was so disoriented and confused by all the blood that he asked the trainer if he actually lost an eye.
posted by Shesthefastest at 10:25 PM on April 26, 2010


"Spittin out Chicklets" an old hockey term.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 10:26 PM on April 26, 2010


Stanley Cup final round 1964. Bobby Baun scores winning goal in overtime, playing with a leg he knew was broken.
posted by philip-random at 10:35 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know there's a machismo thing going on with hockey and helmets and visors. But I am continually amazed that people play such a dangerous sport with so little facial protection.
posted by gnutron at 10:42 PM on April 26, 2010


If he wasn't from Quebec, Don Cherry would call him "A GOOD CANADIAN KID".
posted by Pseudonumb at 10:44 PM on April 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sometimes, it's stupid not to give up. Idiot should have gotten himself to the dentist ASAP - even a short delay could have made his long-term results much worse.
Hell, I don't think the officials should have even given him the option.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:46 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keith Magnuson of the Blackhawks played with a broken jaw in the Stanley Cup finals.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:10 PM on April 26, 2010


...and now on to soccer where some guy with a perm rolled around clutching his knee for five minutes after it was nearly touched by an opposing player's foot .
posted by codswallop at 11:10 PM on April 26, 2010 [32 favorites]


I respect the urge to keep playing. We end up with amazing stories sometimes, like, say, players who opt for amputation of an injured pinky rather than waiting for it to heal, so they miss fewer games. Or the 2001 76ers, where in the finals, Iverson, Mckie, and Snow were all playing on chipped, broken, or otherwise mangled ankles.

Of course, the flip side is players killing their careers. Grant Hill got a lot of flack in Detroit for never getting the team out of the first round, so in his last season with the team, he played on a fracture that, due to complications, robbed him of roughly 5 years of his career. The coaches and medical staff of the Pistons never should have let him play.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:26 PM on April 26, 2010


Junior leagues are no-nonsense. My brother played a season up in Thunder Bay and those guys are tough as nails. Lots of hits, lots of fights, lots of cheap, brutal stuff. In one game, someone kicked him when he was down, gave his chin a nice long gash right near his throat. I'm thankful he didn't die. I'm not surprised that the NHL players who come up through that system have a deadened sense of pain.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 PM on April 26, 2010


Long term results? What, for his teeth? The guy is a hockey defenseman, in the playoffs, in a tight game. I'm pretty sure the appearance of his pearly whites wasn't the number one priority at that point.
posted by Justinian at 11:28 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes, it's stupid not to give up. Idiot should have gotten himself to the dentist ASAP - even a short delay could have made his long-term results much worse.
Hell, I don't think the officials should have even given him the option.


It's just teeth. And it's the playoffs.
posted by empath at 11:33 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Justinian: Long term results? What, for his teeth? The guy is a hockey defenseman, in the playoffs, in a tight game. I'm pretty sure the appearance of his pearly whites wasn't the number one priority at that point.

Appearance, hell. There's things like infection and long-term chronic pain to worry about, to say nothing about the fact that right after an injury the odds of saving most of his teeth were probably decent and waiting ruined that.

And yeah, it might not have been his priority (but it should have been if he had any sense.) That's why the officials should have forced him out of the game whether he wanted to stay in or not.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:34 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's just teeth.

Spoken like someone who still has them.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:42 PM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nothing twenty thousand dollars worth of dental implants won't fix.
posted by hortense at 11:44 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spoken like someone who still has them.

Spoken like someone who is not a professional hockey player. Lots of people have teeth. How many people have won the Stanley Cup?
posted by empath at 11:48 PM on April 26, 2010 [20 favorites]


So? He's a hockey player.
posted by Cranberry at 11:52 PM on April 26, 2010


Nothing twenty thousand dollars worth of dental implants won't fix.

NHLers get a group discount for buying in bulk.
posted by Pseudonumb at 11:54 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


In 1973 Muhammad Ali had his jaw broken by Ken Norton in the second round of a fight that Ali lost in a narrow decision, after 12 rounds.
posted by vapidave at 11:56 PM on April 26, 2010


Spoken like someone who is not a professional hockey player. Lots of people have teeth. How many people have won the Stanley Cup?

Yup.
If you asked most Canadian kids if they'd rather keep their front teeth or win a Stanley Cup championship, a large percentage would run to get their dad's pliers.
posted by Pseudonumb at 12:00 AM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


We end up with amazing stories sometimes, like, say, players who opt for amputation of an injured pinky rather than waiting for it to heal, so they miss fewer games.

New Zealand rugby player Red Conway did the same thing, rather than miss a tour of South Africa.

Another All Black, Buck Shelford tore his scrotum, leaving his testicle hanging out. Rather than going to hospital, had it stitched up on the sideline and went back into the game.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:06 AM on April 27, 2010


Spoken like someone who is not a professional hockey player. Lots of people have teeth. How many people have won the Stanley Cup?

Don't get me wrong, it's badass, and I don't blame the guy for going back out, but it's not "just teeth". There is a quality of life issue, here.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:08 AM on April 27, 2010


Pseudonumb: If you asked most Canadian kids if they'd rather keep their front teeth or win a Stanley Cup championship, a large percentage would run to get their dad's pliers.

Yep. And they might succeed in slightly injuring one before they broke down crying.

Tooth problems suck. I've had months ruined by minor dental problems. I can't properly conceive of just how miserable this guy's life is going to be for the foreseeable future. Not to mention that implants might have dangerous side effects in a hockey players (what's it going to do when the next tooth you lose was bolted into your jaw with titanium?) Permanent injuries to players override the importance of any individual game, and the officials should realize that and not allow them to continue. Career obligations and such could compel them to continue against their health, so the sport should really have safeguards built in so they can't.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:09 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please no more talk about testicles hanging out.
posted by molecicco at 12:11 AM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


(appropriated from a WV joke, 'cause that is where I'm from.)

How do you know hockey players invented the tooth brush.
.
.
.
Cause anyone else would have called it the teeth brush.

Thanks folks! I'll be here all week! Be sure to tip your server.
posted by poe at 12:25 AM on April 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


to say nothing about the fact that right after an injury the odds of saving most of his teeth were probably decent and waiting ruined that.

And leaving then would have ruined the chance to play later in the game. I don't think you realize the importance staying in the game would have to a professional hockey player at that level. I'm not a huge sports guy. I wouldn't want to lose some teeth. But I haven't dedicated my life to the game, either. If I had, you'd have to carry me out on a stretcher.

Competitive sports have been around as long as human civilization. They are just as much a part of the human condition as music, or literature, or philosophy, or art. That they aren't my particular priority doesn't mean that I don't recognize that these guys can trace a historical line back to the Hippodromes of ancient Roman cities and such. It's not "just a game" any more than art is "just a hobby".

Hockey is this man's life. It's not the life I would choose, but I'm sure he probably wouldn't want to spend as much time on Metafilter as I do so I'm cool with his choices being valid.
posted by Justinian at 12:51 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I am going to stop short of condemning, because adrenaline and the moment can cloud a person's judgment.

So condemn the coach and/or refs. There's absolutely nothing praiseworthy in this story.
posted by DU at 3:00 AM on April 27, 2010


Sports have a history of letting (and even encouraging) players injure themselves for the short-term interests of the team, match, or sport. It's great business. Very dramatic, brings in the paying fans, and it's not like the team or owner is crippled a few years later.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:03 AM on April 27, 2010


I'm glad someone else brought up Ian Laperriere. That guy is a great combo of tough as nails on the ice and congenial off ice (by media accounts, anyway). Face it, folks: hockey players lose teeth, block shots, chuck knuckles and more, as much for their own pride as our entertainment. Quality of life is a flexible concept, and hockey players don't tend to regret their sacrifices. Especially those who win. Eric Belanger will have his name on the Cup some day, and I hope Laperriere does too. Actually, he might already. Research time!
posted by randomyahoo at 3:11 AM on April 27, 2010




Can't speak about punctured lungs, but broken ribs don't hurt very much at all until the next day (and the next 6-8 weeks after that). At the time you can tell there's something wrong, but it isn't particularly painful.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:29 AM on April 27, 2010


GO CAPS

(or veneers)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:55 AM on April 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Speaking of Ian Laperriere and teeth, someone stole his false teeth a while back, and he had to shoot a commercial without them.

(Thanks metafilter, I was trying to avoid reading about hockey today after Nashville lost last night)
posted by ghharr at 5:06 AM on April 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hey! These guys get paid millions of dollars, they better play through the pain at that salary!

In any case, hockey grit and toughness is what makes the sport.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:07 AM on April 27, 2010


See also Maurice Richard:
During the 1952 semifinals against Boston, Richard was knocked unconscious by a check courtesy of Leo Labine. He was revived but remained in a semiconscious state when he scored the dramatic winning goal on Sugar Jim Henry. (pic)
Potomac Avenue: GO CAPS

More like GOLF CAPS. amirite?

Yeah, yeah, Habs fan here, not gonna happen, Halak ain't Roy or Dryden. Just let me dream.
posted by hangashore at 5:33 AM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


If anything, a missing tooth is an advantage for a defenseman.

(Thanks metafilter, I was trying to avoid reading about hockey today after Nashville lost last night)


I'm with you ghharr.
posted by drezdn at 5:49 AM on April 27, 2010


He's a Canadian man (as I guessed from his name — my mother's stepfather was a Belanger) and Canadian men are so mental about their hockey they do this kind of thing frequently. A few years ago my nephew got hit in the face with a puck and it smashed four of his teeth. He just kept playing and spitting out fragments of teeth until the game was over. And no, he was not getting paid millions of dollars to play. It was pick up game at the local arena.
posted by orange swan at 5:52 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, it's stupid not to give up. Idiot should have gotten himself to the dentist ASAP - even a short delay could have made his long-term results much worse.
Hell, I don't think the officials should have even given him the option.


NPR had a story on this yesterday and Belanger did go to the team dentist immediately after it happened. Granted he is an NHL dentist so his attitude was "There were multiple lacerations, lots of teeth were damaged, but I said we'll get you through it. In fact, we could probably do something to even get you back on the ice right now, which he was happy about," but the dentist did give Belanger lots of Novocain and 30 sutures before he returned to the ice.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 5:56 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is a quality of life issue, here.

So you get robot teeth. Teeth you can use to bite your Stanley Cup and the piles of money you make playing professional hockey.
posted by chunking express at 6:26 AM on April 27, 2010


You don't need teeth to drink beer, people!
posted by chugg at 6:33 AM on April 27, 2010


Tangentially, I recently chaperoned a field trip for my daughter's second grade class. Before we left, the teacher had each kid with a parent present stand up, introduce their parent and tell the class anything they thought was interesting to share. So my kid's all "Here's my mom, she likes to fold laundry" or whatever.

But this other kid was practically vibrating with excitement, and he gets up and says "This is my dad, [NAME], and he has brand new teeth because his old ones just got knocked out playing bandy!"

And the dad grins and shrugs and says "We won!" and the class goes apeshit cheering nuts, because Minnesota is hard core.
posted by padraigin at 6:36 AM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


In 1988, Kevin Lowe of the Edmonton Oilers disregarded a broken wrist in a full cast, missing no playoff games.

It was only after the Oilers won their 4th Stanley Cup that Wayne Gretzky revealed to the media that Lowe also had broken ribs: "That's what it takes to win a Stanley Cup."

I remember that clearly and was amazed that a defenceman could take that kind of pounding during championship play and still function. It would be hard enough to simply move with broken ribs, let alone slamming opposing forwards into the boards (or being slammed into them) on every shift.

Lowe was the original Iron Man.
posted by bwg at 6:39 AM on April 27, 2010


"Buck Shelford tore his scrotum ... and went back into the game"

WINNAR - you can close the thread now, thanks.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:41 AM on April 27, 2010




I had an eyelid cut in half when I was highsticked. Seeing through the cut was...interesting.

I also had a cracked retina for a while, so I had a big brown booger covering about a tenth of my field of vision.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:37 AM on April 27, 2010




even a short delay could have made his long-term results much worse.

Seconds matter if he wants to re-implant a tooth with a live nerve. Something tells me he'll be going for titanium implants, though.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:23 AM on April 27, 2010


I'm really confused by some of the responses, I mean, saying that the refs should have forced him out of the game so he could go see the dentist? I get that some people don't understand his choice, but declaring that he's not even allowed to make the choice is baffling.

There's absolutely nothing praiseworthy in this story.

Personally, I think his dedication to his profession is commendable.
posted by dnesan at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2010


In 2008, Ryan Malone, then with the Penguins, had his nose broken twice in the same round.
"It could have been a lot worse," Malone said of the shot he took in the second period Monday in Game 5. "I'm thankful. A broken nose, a swollen lip and some chipped teeth. That's a pretty good scenario."

Malone missed only a few minutes after he received a half-dozen stitches and had cotton stuffed into his nose, which he also broke earlier in the series. X-rays performed showed no fractures to his face, Malone said."
NHLers are pretty nuts, but that's part of what makes the playoffs so awesome. It's also interesting to find out after-the-fact all the injuries a team is nursing. Mike Mottau, of my sad-sack Devils, had been playing with a broken finger since April 8.
posted by inmediasres at 10:43 AM on April 27, 2010


During an amateur soccer playoff game an opposition player and I were running at each other to receive the ball which was in the air. His chose to head it, and instead headed my sternum. The sound of it was insane, like in the nature films where mountain goats collide their heads together. I played through the rest of the game having only a dim sense that something was wrong... I thought it was just a bruise. It wasn't till after the game that I realized breathing was a little hard. After the party the pain finally kicked in, over the beer.

Two days later I finally went to urgent care (first broken ribs) and was x-rayed and told they were just bruised. About two weeks later I was having an unrelated bone scan done and asked the tech to have a look and that's when I found out what had really happened: I'd basically separated three ribs from my sternum. He couldn't understand how it was possible without snapping the sternum/injuring my lungs, which typically only happen in major car accidents.

That's the sort of forces involved in these games, and exactly what adrenaline can do to you when playing them. The other team was playing extremely dirty and the ref wasn't calling them on it so we were pretty angry at the time (and lost, of course) and I think that was part of it. That kid probably had a decent concussion and went on playing too. I know he was stunned still for a few seconds at least.

My particular situation was definitely an outlier. You don't get many head injuries and broken ribs in a sport with a fairly soft ball (compared to a baseball, for instance) and that is played most with the feet. But to a certain degree it does show a difference that is important. Rugby and Hockey at least acknowledge these things and bring it above board. If that was the case we could have played dirty as well and there could have been a balance rather than the slaughter that happened. A more responsible approach to injuries might have been there as well, like the ones above. A lot of these guys get evaluated by a med before continuing playing, or stopping as the case may be.

It's nuts for sure, but I don't think it's as bad as pretending all sports are fair, no one ever gets injured, and the few "light" injuries that do happen are nothing to worry about. Football (American) is figuring that out now. The toll from all of these concussions is only now starting to be realized.
posted by jwells at 10:44 AM on April 27, 2010


So condemn the coach and/or refs. There's absolutely nothing praiseworthy in this story.

You sir, should not be posting in a hockey thread.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:13 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oooh, testicle injuries! I forgot one basketball injury: John Starks (who until I heard about this, I loathed with the intensity due a Knicks player), when playing in Utah, somehow got a testicle twisted, or knotted, or something absolutely hideously wrong. Agonizing pain. In the playoffs.

He had it removed. He might have missed one game, or maybe he didn't miss any. John Starks showed those men of will what will really was.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:40 PM on April 27, 2010


It's gone now but I had posted a YouTube clip of the Top 10 Gutsiest NHL Performances to my blog last fall.

And why would I post that? Well, typical Canuck that I am, I'd broken my leg playing beer league midnight hockey and was doing a few different posts dedicated to the topic in the days following my very heavy introduction to the rink boards.

A big part of hockey culture is toughness and incidents like the Belanger only reinforce that - which has a trickle down effect that reaches right into the lowest levels of the game - whether it's kids' hockey or senior men's beer leagues.

In fact, I'm sure it's the case that too many players, whether they're bantams or beer leaguers, hear that NHL announcer voice in our head as we're playing which spurs us to do stupid things, even though we don't have things like "team dentists" and "million dollar contracts". Players trash talk, get in fights and yes, skate way harder than they need to before ending up split-legged in the end boards with a dent in their leg because, oh yeah, we don't actually skate quite as well as the guys on TV.

I didn't keep playing after I broke my leg with ten minutes left but I sat on the bench for the last ten minutes then went out and took the end-of-game handshake. It's probably not an Eric Belanger moment (thank God). But they're definitely related.
posted by Jaybo at 7:38 PM on April 28, 2010


And then there's this.
[16-year-old Douglas] Critch said he was relieved they were able to treat him quickly.

"I was thinking, 'How did I manage to play three [hockey] games like that, with four broken ribs ... I don't know how I [did] it,' he said.
I guess, on top of everything else, if you just don't think about it, you can just play through.
posted by inmediasres at 10:57 AM on April 29, 2010


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