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Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis calls Pittsburgh Penguin Zbynek Michalek's high stick a 'careless play'

The stick of Penguin Zbynek Michalek hits Marty St. Louis in the mouth as both fall during the second period of Game 1.

DIRK SHADD | Times

The stick of Penguin Zbynek Michalek hits Marty St. Louis in the mouth as both fall during the second period of Game 1.

PITTSBURGH — Lightning veteran wing Marty St. Louis says it's never fun to go to the dentist, regardless of when the visit happens.

But that St. Louis had to have a double root canal after Wednesday night's 3-0 loss to the Penguins in Game 1 of their East quarterfinal series made for an uncomfortable rest of the night.

"It was definitely my latest dentist appointment," he said.

St. Louis, 35, was put in that spot after being hit by the stick of the Penguins' Zbynek Michalek as both got tangled in the corner going for the puck and fell. The contact drew blood and damaged St. Louis' front teeth and lip. Michalek wasn't penalized.

St. Louis still led all Lightning forwards with 17:53 of ice time and was at practice Thursday afternoon. Coach Guy Boucher called him a "warrior."

St. Louis said he was disappointed there was no call; he voiced his displeasure to officials during the game. Michalek wasn't available for comment Thursday.

"To me, it was a careless play," St. Louis said. "Broken teeth and a fat lip, your emotion is going to get a little high, and probably got the best of me at that point in time. I thought it could have easily been a penalty. I don't see that play like the referees see the play, a different angle. I'm right in the battle, so obviously I was a little disappointed."

That being said, St. Louis is ready to move on. He told reporters they were making it "more of a story than it is" and acknowledged the damage could have been worse.

"It's done. It's hockey," St. Louis said. "Sometimes you'll go to the net and get a puck in the face. You get stitches. I'm just happy it wasn't (a higher hit); it might have concussed me. I'll take the teeth instead of the concussion."

St. Louis said he's not going to let his emotions get the best of him tonight in Game 2, and he'll play a smart game. Center Steven Stamkos said the injury might make St. Louis "more hungry."

"That's Marty for you. He's not going to let something like that slow him down," Stamkos said. "At the end of the day, a penalty should have been called on that."

Boucher said that knowing how tough and competitive St. Louis is, he would have been "very surprised" if St. Louis wasn't at Thursday's practice.

"If you come to our (dressing) room, we've got a gigantic picture of him when (the Lightning) won the Cup," Boucher said. "Vinny (Lecavalier) has the Cup in his arms, and we've got Marty bleeding beside him. That pretty much sums it up."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]mes.com.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis calls Pittsburgh Penguin Zbynek Michalek's high stick a 'careless play' 04/14/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 9:23pm]
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