TAMPA — Marty St. Louis said it did not hurt when a skate blade cut through his forehead and the bridge of his nose during Saturday's game with the Senators.
But that did not stop the panic as the Lightning right wing raced to the bench, grabbing at the bleeding laceration.
"It felt like my whole forehead was split open," St. Louis said Monday.
"I knew I had to get to the bench because I didn't know how much blood I was actually losing. It was dripping. I was scared. I needed some help."
St. Louis said he knew his eyes were okay.
"I just didn't know if my brain was sticking out of my head."
St. Louis was cut with about 58 seconds left in the third period by the skate of linesman Derek Amell, who kicked up his heels and stumbled as he tried to get out of the way after a faceoff.
The outcome was as good as could have been expected.
Thanks to the use of Dermabond glue, just eight stitches were needed to close the gash, and after practicing Monday at the St. Pete Times Forum, St. Louis is expected to play Thursday against the Avalanche.
"He was really lucky, the skate coming down between his eyes," trainer Tommy Mulligan said. "A half inch to the right, a half inch to the left, and we're dealing with a much more serious problem."
As it was, "It was pretty scary," defenseman Lukas Krajicek said. "There was a lot of blood."
So much, including puddles on the ice, the Lightning wondered why officials did not stop play.
It was a critical moment. Tampa Bay was down 1-0 with a faceoff in the Ottawa zone. St. Louis, who does not wear a visor, was cut as he reached for the puck. As he skated to the bench, the Senators gained possession and scored into an empty net.
"I looked up to the other two refs and actually got my head up for them to see the blood," St. Louis said. "They didn't blow the whistle. That was disappointing."
Lightning GM Brian Lawton said he spoke to referees Brad Meier and Wes McCauley after the game. He also has the option of bringing up player safety issues at league meetings.
But coach Rick Tocchet said, "It'd be nice for someone to come out and say, 'Hey listen, we made a mistake on this.' "
But Mike Murphy, the NHL's director of hockey operations, said the officials handled the situation "in a very professional fashion."
Murphy cited Rule 8, which states a game cannot be stopped until an injured player's team secures possession of the puck.
While the Senators gained control, the rule also says a game can be stopped if it is "obvious a player has sustained a serious injury."
Said Murphy: "I'll bet nobody knew Marty was even cut despite the fact he was bleeding profusely because everybody's back was to him and they were all watching the puck and the situation. … They probably see him out of the corner of their eye as he's heading to the bench, 'Boy, he's cut, what happened there?' "
Added Murphy, "If a player lays on the ice, they'll kill a play. The moment a player gets up and heads off himself, it's game on."
St. Louis is ready to move on. He said Amell called to apologize, but it was unclear whether St. Louis will continue to use the visor he wore in practice.
"I was lucky," he said, "in my own unfortunate situation."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.