New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who required 90 stitches to repair a cut around his eyelid after being hit in the face by the skate of the Montreal Canadiens left wing Artturi Lehkonen earlier this month, will return to action when the NHL resumes play, general manager Lou Lamoriello said Saturday.
In a Q&A on the team's official website, Lamoriello reassured fans that Boychuk will be back after the frightening incident in the Canadiens' 6-2 victory on March 3.
Both players were in front of the New York net when Lehkonen appeared to lose his balance and fall forward, causing his legs to kick back and his right skate to connect with Boychuk's face as he looked downward. Boychuk immediately went down to the ice with his hand covering his face before skating off in pain.
The following day, Lamoriello said Boychuk suffered no damage to his eye.
"He had quite a night. ... He felt the skate blade hit his eye, but fortunately, it just got the eyelid," Lamoriello said. "It's just a matter of time with the eye opening up."
Boychuk, 36, has two goals and 11 points in 64 games this season. When play resumes, the Islanders, with 80 points, will be one point out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.