BOSTON -- Loui Eriksson is thanking his lucky stars these days for the protecting mouth guard he wears during games.
The little piece of protective equipment probably saved his top front teeth after catching a high stick to the mouth in Thursday night’s game against the Blues, and he was able to painfully smile about it after Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Eriksson went out with style notching a pair of assists prior to hopping on a plane with Erik Karlsson to join a Team Sweden charter to Sochi, Russia.
That was after spending all day Friday in a dentist’s chair rather than at Bruins practice. He was still sporting a big fat upper lip on Saturday courtesy of the Maxim Lapierre high stick that went uncalled.
“I was there for a couple hours, it was a long day but they did a good job so everything is fine,” said Eriksson. “I had a mouth guard on so it was lucky I had that on or else I probably wouldn’t have any upper front teeth. It’s scary. You don’t know -- when you get the stick up there you don’t know what happened. I was lucky it wasn’t too bad.”
Eriksson finished the first half of the season with six goals and 20 points along with a plus-10 rating in 37 games. He missed 20 games due to a pair of concussions. A trip to the Olympics will likely give the Swedish winger a nice little break from the action in Boston, and allow him a fresh start to an important stretch drive for the Black and Gold.
“I watched him tonight closely, and I thought tonight his skating has been better than it has ever been. When you keep playing, it’s going to get better. You got to feel for the guy,” said Claude Julien. “He’s had two concussions: The second one not even a penalty on it. He got the stick to the mouth the other night. Not a penalty on that either.
“Then he got clipped in the face today. Never anything called on him, and yet he still has a smile on his face. He keeps plugging away. I liked his game. I liked the way he’s skating. He seems to be getting better all the time. No doubt this Olympic competition will do him some good. When he gets back I expect him to continue to be even better than what he’s been.”
That’s good news for Eriksson and the Bruins, provided he can sidestep the dark cloud that seemed to be hanging over him in his first few months in Boston.