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Penguins defenseman Ian Cole recovering from gruesome mouth injury | TribLIVE.com
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Penguins defenseman Ian Cole recovering from gruesome mouth injury

Jonathan Bombulie

As mouthguard technology and emergency dentistry have evolved over the past few decades, the old cliche about hockey players having missing teeth doesn’t ring as true as it once did.

But there was nothing modern science could do to save two of Penguins defenseman Ian Cole’s pearly whites Saturday night.

As Cole dropped to a knee to block a shot by Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi in the first period, the puck rose up and hit him squarely in the mouth. It was a gruesome direct hit.

Cole stayed face-down on the ice for a moment, then was helped by medical personnel to the locker room, leaving a trail of blood on the ice behind him.

On Sunday morning, he shared a graphic photo of his mouth via Twitter, along with an accompanying message.

“Thank you all for the concern, down a few good teeth and some jaw but doing well,” Cole wrote. “Looking forward to getting back ASAP.”

After the game Saturday night, coach Mike Sullivan said Cole would be out indefinitely pending further medical evaluation.

After a historically lopsided 10-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, there was universal consensus in the Penguins locker room that a greater level of commitment would be required for the team to win.

As he blocked a shot with his face during a 4-0 bounce-back win over Nashville, Cole took that idea of commitment to an extreme.

“We’ve got guys that are fearless back there, like Ian Cole,” goalie Matt Murray said. “He goes down to block that shot and takes it up high. We’re really thinking about him and hope he’s all right. It goes to show you the character that guy’s got.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.


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Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (left) scores against Penguins goalie Antti Niemi during the first period Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Chicago.
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The Penguins' Sidney Crosby leaps over teammate Olli Maatta as he chases the puck against the Blackhawks on October 5, 2017 in Chicago.
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Nashville's Scott Hartnell watches as a trainer gives the Penguins' Ian Cole a towel after Cole was hit with the puck during Saturday's game.
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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 05: Head coach Mike Sullivan and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins watch the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks during the season opening game at the United Center on October 5, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Penguins 10-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Penguins players look up at the scoreboard after Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad scored his third goal of the night during the third period Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Chicago.
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Penguins players look up at the scoreboard after Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad scored his third goal of the night during the third period Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Chicago.
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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 05: John Hayden #40 of the Chicago Blackhawks is tripped while shooting by Justin Schultz #4 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the season opening game at the United Center on October 5, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
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