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Blood, Sweat and Teeth: Account of past gruesome Ryan Callahan dental injury

by Bryan Burns / Tampa Bay Lightning

We've all experienced food stuck in our teeth: a spec of pepper that awkwardly makes an appearance on a first date or an annoying blackberry seed that won't budge no matter how many times you push it with your tongue.

But how about a hockey stick lodged in your jawbone?

Ryan Callahan felt that particular pain while a member of the New York Rangers. Matt Crossman provides the gruesome details as well as what it's like to be a dentist in the NHL in his not-for-the-squeamish story for Bleacher Report.

From the article:

Kenneth Ochi had a private dental practice in Southern California and didn't know much about hockey when the Los Angeles Kings' team trainer became a patient of his. The trainer told Ochi the team needed a new dentist and asked if he was interested in the job. Ochi resisted the overture. He didn't want to attend 41 games a year for a sport he didn't follow.

But the trainer persisted, and Ochi eventually took the job. He showed up for his first day of work on opening night last season wondering where this new adventure would take him. It wasn't long before he learned the answer: places his private practice never even approached.

In the second period of that game, New York Rangers center Ryan Callahan lined up Kings center Anze Kopitar for a check, and as he prepared to deliver it, Kopitar turned toward him. "I came full speed, and next thing you know I've got a stick blade in my mouth," Callahan says. "It wasn't a pleasant feeling."

Parts of Callahan's gums ripped off. Blood poured from between his lower lip and chin. His teeth were intact, but the area where they meet the jaw would still hurt six months later. Callahan skated off the ice, walked through the tunnel and headed to the dentist chair inside Staples Center. On the way, he took off his jersey and shoulder pads, pulling them carefully over the gaping wound on his face.

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