The New York Islanders announced on Wednesday that defenseman Johnny Boychuk has officially retired due to an eye injury suffered during the 2019-20 regular season.
The injury occurred back on March 3 in a home game against the Montreal Canadiens. With the Islanders down 4-1 with over 11 minutes left on the clock, Boychuk took the skate of Montreal forward Artturi Lehkonen to his face, with the skate blade appearing to hit near his eye.
Boychuk fell immediately to the ice, clutching at his face. He eventually picked himself up and rushed hurriedly to the Islanders dressing room with the team’s medical and training staff.
NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty later reported that the blade cut Boychuk’s eyelid rather than the eyeball itself, a major relief for the veteran defenseman, in his sixth season with the Isles.
Early word on Johnny Boychuk is that it was a cut to the eyelid rather than the blade directly cutting his eyeball. Sounds like he dodged a bullet https://t.co/ThNz32m2ld
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 4, 2020
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello also provided an update later in the evening following the game.
Boychuk Injury Update from Lou Lamoriello: “Johnny Boychuk is ok. Fortunately the skate blade just got the eyelid. It took 90 stitches for a plastic surgeon to fix. But he’ll be fine.” #Isles pic.twitter.com/vYfsx9MAYO
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 4, 2020
The Islanders say the Stanley Cup-winning D-man underwent numerous and extensive medical exams on the eye, which he had previously injured.
Statement From the Islanders
After numerous and extensive medical exams, New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk‘s career has come to an end, due to an eye injury suffered during the 2019-20 regular season. The most recent injury was the second to the same eye.
The 36-year-old native of Edmonton, Alberta has played the past six seasons with the Islanders, scoring 35 goals and 96 assists for 131 points in 404 games. Over the course of his 13-year career with the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins and Islanders, Boychuk played in 725 games, scoring 206 points (54 goals and 152 assists). He was acquired by the Islanders in 2014 from the Bruins and went on to have a career year in goals (nine), assists (26) and points (35) that same season (2014-15).
Boychuk played in 104 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists). He was a member of Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup Championship team, playing in all 25 games that playoff, scoring nine points (three goals and six assists).
By Jon Sorensen