Jarred Tinordi was a surprise addition to the Blackhawks lineup on Friday, returning earlier than expected from a hip injury that kept him out of the last five games. He stepped in for Caleb Jones, who was experiencing some muscle tightness in his hip after morning skate and was a late scratch.
But just seconds into the very first shift of the game, Tinordi left and missed the entire first period for an unknown reason at the time. It turned out he took an inadvertent skate to his jaw area from Winnipeg Jets forward Michael Eyssimont, which nobody saw in real time because it happened so fast. It did help explain why there was a confusing delay a minute or two later because of blood on the ice.
Tinordi returned for the second period with a face shield and finished the game. After practice on Monday, he revealed why it took so long to return: The doctors told him he received somewhere between 50-100 stitches, some of which were put on the inside.
"In the moment, I obviously felt something hit my jaw but I thought it was just the boot or his ankle or something like that," Tinordi told NBC Sports Chicago. "You don't feel the pain from it, you don't feel anything, it just felt like something hit my jaw and I wasn't sure.
"I double-checked, and the first time I touched it there was just a little bit of blood. The second time I touched it, it was quite a bit. I knew it was not great but you don't know how bad it was. I didn't even look at it, I just went right to the training table. Even then, you think it's just a couple stitches and you'll be back. But it turned out to be a little more than that."
Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said he originally had no idea what happened. Then he got the report from the training staff during the intermission and it made sense why he wasn't available for the rest of the period.
"I thought he got the puck in the face, but I guess he got to skate in the face," Richardson said. "And he was open wide, wide open there on the bottom, right across the chin. It took extensive time to sew him back up.
"I guess he was getting impatient with the doctors. They kept telling him five minutes, five minutes and they kept having to go more and more. I don’t think they thought it was as severe at first, and he didn’t think it was either. It was kind of a slice so it probably just went numb right away and then he realized it was a little deeper, a little bit bigger."
In order to get stitched up, the doctors had to trim Tinordi's beard, which was pretty thick. Some of his teammates joked that they saw beard hairs on the ice throughout the game.
At least they can laugh about it now, because Tinordi is fortunate to have dodged a major bullet in the grand scheme of things.
"I feel good, I feel fine," Tinordi said. "I got lucky. It was a long wait to get back out there. You're kind of pissed at the start and then once you're into it, you're like let's just get it done and move on, you know what I mean? It happens. It's just crazy it happens like that."