Johnny Boychuk is beyond lucky. The New York Islander took a skate to the face Tuesday that slashed his eyelid but apparently left his eye intact, USA Today reports. "Johnny Boychuk is OK," the team's general manager, Lou Lamoriello, told reporters. "There's been no damage to his eye. Fortunately the skate blade just got the eyelid. It took 90 stitches for a plastic surgeon to fix. But he’ll be fine." It happened when Boychuk tried to move Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen from the crease during a possible goal situation. Lehkonen toppled over and his skate flew up into Boychuck's face.
The New York defenseman squirmed briefly on the ice before skating off with a hand over his face. Not an easy moment for Lehkonen, either: "I hope I didn't hit him in the eye or anything like that," he tells TSN. "But it was scary for sure. I felt right away that it hit him somewhere high." But Boychuck struck a positive note on Twitter: "Thank you to everyone for the positive messages and thoughts!" he wrote Wednesday. "I am extremely grateful. Please know they did not go unheard. Luckily for me the skate only cut my eyelid. Sorry for the late response ... facial recognition wasn’t working ... thank you again my friends." (See it here, or read the most inspirational hockey story of the year so far.)