Bruins

Bruins' Ryan Donato took horrifying trip to dentist after taking puck to mouth

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Bruins' Ryan Donato took horrifying trip to dentist after taking puck to mouth

BRIGHTON -- Ryan Donato certainly paid his dues by making a trip to the AHL with the Providence Bruins over the last few weeks.

The former Harvard University star made the big club out of training camp, but struggled both offensively and defensively with just one goal in 11 games along with a minus-4 rating. He was sent to Providence and improved his board work, defense, and overall play without the puck, and also posted five goals and nine points in 10 games.

It also gave him a classic pro hockey dental work story, too, as an errant shot at P-Bruins practice ended up costing Donato five of his teeth and put him in a dentist's chair for four to five hours.

Donato recalled the details on Wednesday morning following his first practice back in Boston since getting recalled amid some injuries and ineffectiveness up front with the B’s forward group.

The incident happened Nov. 20 as Mark McNeill fired a shot at the net after getting a pass from Donato. The puck ricocheted off Daniel Vladar’s equipment and right into Donato's mouth as he crashed the net for the rebound.

Donato finished practice with the missing teeth and his lips ripped open, went to the dentist, and then returned to play for Providence one night later.  

“I started getting a little nervous when they got out the hammer, and the screw driver and the heavy duty tools,” said Donato. “I had a broken femur in college, so I’ve felt some pretty bad pain before. But the five hours in the dentist’s chair having teeth removed was about as in-pain and uncomfortable as I’ve ever been.”

Apparently part of the issue was the relatively small size of Donato’s teeth, and that one tooth was cracked down to the gums and had to be removed along with the front two upper and lower teeth. The five lost teeth equaled the number his father lost in his long NHL career, but Ryan said Ted Donato lost them “one at a time rather than getting them all out at once."

Hockey players never cease to amaze with their toughness and willingness to come back from just about anything. Donato proved it once again. 

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NHL Positional Rankings: Ranking the league's top 10 left wings

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NHL Positional Rankings: Ranking the league's top 10 left wings

Is there a more top-heavy, stacked position in the NHL than left wing where there are three legit Hart Trophy candidates in each of the top three spots with Leon Draisaitl, Brad Marchand and Alex Ovechkin?

Draisaitl has been arguably the best player in the entire NHL this season with his league-leading 44 points in 24 games and has teamed with Connor McDavid in Edmonton to be the best duo in the entire NHL as well. Marchand is on pace for 51 goals and 137 points this season and continues to show that last year’s 100-point season was no fluke. Then there is old standby Alex Ovechkin, who is also on pace for 51 goals this season and could potentially give the position three different players who will put up massive numbers this season. 

Go down the list and there are a number of young up-and-coming forwards really coming into their own like Jonathan Huberdeau, Tyler Bertuzzi and Matthew Tkachuk, but the very tip-tip of this list is the best trio of left wingers that the NHL has produced in a long, long time. 

Bruins injuries: Torey Krug, Brett Ritchie could play Saturday vs. Wild

Bruins injuries: Torey Krug, Brett Ritchie could play Saturday vs. Wild

The Boston Bruins may be getting some reinforcements to their lineup Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.

Torey Krug hasn't played since Nov. 10 after suffering an upper-body injury against the Philadelphia Flyers, but is probable to play Saturday, according to Bruce Cassidy. Brett Ritchie, who is suffering from an infection issue, also is a possibility against the Wild. 

Patrice Bergeron was given a maintenance day and missed practice Friday. Par Lindholm, who required 18 stitches last night after being cut, has not been ruled out for tomorrow's matchup. 

Defensemen John Moore and Kevan Miller are still a couple weeks from being game-ready.

The 14-3-5 Bruins, who have not lost a regulation game on home ice, will host the struggling 9-11-2 Wild Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. 

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