We know hockey players are tough. But it takes a different breed to extract your own tooth, as Islanders forward Brock Nelson did during Monday night’s game, treating his sideline dental procedure with stunning indifference, an exercise as natural as lacing up a pair of skates.
The injury occurred moments earlier when Nelson caught a high stick from Toronto’s William Nylander, who, remarkably, wasn’t penalized. A native of Warroad, Minnesota (just a hop and a skip from the Canadian border in nearby Manitoba), the veteran didn’t even flinch, barely acknowledging what, to most people, would have been a traumatic event, an urgent matter to be addressed immediately and with great care.
The clip quickly went viral with fans on Twitter marveling at Nelson’s relative nonchalance, shrugging off a bloodied mouth as if it were part of his daily routine.
New York’s leading scorer with a team-high 17 goals and 42 total points, Nelson will represent the Islanders at next week’s NHL All-Star Game in South Florida, the first such honor of his 10-year career. The Islanders’ struggles continued with another loss Monday night, their fifth in a row and ninth in 10 games. This one hurt more than most, coming at the hands of the hated Maple Leafs, who were led by a goal and an assist from former Islanders captain John Tavares. Nelson at least did his part, contributing an assist to Anders Lee in the losing effort.