There were three problems with the Shea Theodore bobblehead the Vegas Golden Knights revealed last Saturday against the Dallas Stars. The first two were obvious, the VGK lost, and Theodore was unfortunately unable to play due to a lower-body injury. But for the third, you had to look a little closer.
"Since this (bobblehead), I have had my teeth fixed, so I am not missing a tooth. But if you have like white pens or sharpies, you can probably just address that at home," said Theodore after the Golden Knights revealed the bobblehead at Fan Fest 2023.
Teeth are something we non-NHL players take for granted as tools to speak, chew our food, and chant, "Go Knights Go." But a good chunk of Golden Knights players have lost some of their pearly whites in their hockey careers, such as forward Reilly Smith, who has a noticeable missing bottom tooth.
🎥 Smith on scoring at home: Try to get more pucks to the net and trying different ways to score goals. If you're not scoring on the rush, which I think is one of the strengths of our team, you have to start finding in-zone goals. pic.twitter.com/SuoD5Cqs4Z
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 19, 2023
"I know this one (points to the bottom tooth) I lost in Florida. A couple of my top ones I lost at other various times in my career. It's just like an endless battle. Most of the time, it's from sticks. I did take a puck to my face when I was in Dallas my first year that needed three root canals," said Smith.
Chandler Stephenson has never fully lost a tooth clean; but has chipped multiple resulting in several fake teeth.
"It's been constant the last 10-12 years. I think last year is the year that I didn't chip a tooth, lose one, or get one knocked out. It seems like an every-year occurrence, and it already happened this year against LA," said Stephenson, who referred to a Dec. 27th road loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
These chips and breaks to Stephenson's teeth have resulted in him getting one of his teeth fully removed off the ice. Stephenson stated that if he were to have embraced the broken teeth look like someone like Brent Burns, he would have likely not been able to talk properly.
"I've had to get one pulled because it was down to my gum. But for the most part, it's just chipping. I'm going to need to do some dental work when I'm done with hockey, but there's just no point right now because of how frequently it happens," said Stephenson.
Having a literal body part removed from their body doesn't seem to bother hockey players. When VHN asked both Smith and Stephenson if they returned to the games in which they had teeth hit, they responded "of course," and "yeah," respectively."
When players lose teeth, they resort to the top-notch Golden Knights medical staff and particularly team dentist Dr. Byron Blasco.
“It hasn't been too bad. There's been somewhere where you have to get stitches because your lips are chewed up from a high stick, and you keep cutting your lips. But for the most part, you're right back out there," said Stephenson.
Some players have entered the Golden Knights system, already missing facial piano keys. Kaedan Korczak lost a tooth with Team Canada playing international hockey. His teeth' absence likely makes it harder for him to eat ice cream with Darren Millard, among other things.
"It was Canada v Russia; I was actually playing a current teammate Ivan Morozov. I was just sitting on the bench, and the puck just kind of hit me. I was talking to someone on the bench, and I just turned around, and yeah. I still have a scar on my lip. It was too far gone, so they had to take it out," said Korczak.
Losing teeth is a strange part of the great game of hockey, but perhaps enough teeth lost means more wishes to the Tooth Fairy and more winning.