St. Louis Blues captain David Backes is one of the game's more rugged players, but wears a visor to protect his eyes. Unfortunately for the veteran center, his visor couldn't protect him from taking a slapshot to the mouth Monday night against Florida. But a serious mouth injury wasn't enough to keep him from taking the rest of the night off.
Backes was in front of the Panthers' net midway through the first period attempting to redirect a shot from teammate T.J. Oshie, but it changed direction after hitting Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and rose up underneath Backes' visor before striking his mouth. The 30-year-old center immediately left the ice holding his mouth and headed for the dressing room:
After receiving treatment, Backes returned to the game wearing a full facial shield and attempted to continue before being sent off for extensive dental work. He was regarded as a tough customer prior to Monday's game, but this will underscore the point and further endear him to St. Louis fans.
UPDATE: Backes was outdone in the tough guy department Monday by Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein, who lost part of his ear – yes, you read that right – yet had 13 stitches to reattach it and returned to the game to score the overtime winner for the Blueshirts against Pittsburgh: