John Marino took a puck to the face last night when Steven Stamkos took a shot that was partially deflected by a Penguins player straight into Marino’s face.
It looked scary, but some good news was injected immediately after the game when coach Mike Sullivan offered a fairly hopeful immediate update.
Coach Sullivan on the status of John Marino: “We think he’s going to be okay. He’s being evaluated right now. He got hit in the cheek.”— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 7, 2020
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case as further evaluations today have apparently revealed broken bone in Marino’s cheek.
I can confirm that John Marino broke three bones in his cheek and is going to need surgery. Nothing official from the #Pens yet.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) February 7, 2020
While surgery and a broken bone in multiple places is never good news, the location (cheek) might be a slight blessing in disguise for Marino to have avoided a jaw injury.
In recent NHL history, there’s three examples of a broken cheek, and all had quicker than you might expect returns.
Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin broke his cheek by getting hit by a puck in the face on October 22nd, 2013. He was back in the lineup on November 1st.
Troy Brouwer, then with Calgary, broke his cheek in three places just like Marino did, back on February 8th, 2018. He was back in the lineup on February 21st.
Defenseman Kyle Quincey, then with Detroit, broke his cheekbone on March 15th, 2013. He did require surgery and was out of the game lineup until April 5th, a span of exactly three weeks. That sounds pretty quick for a surgical procedure to the face, but players have shown an ability to get back quickly.
The key likely is where these three breaks for Marino have been suffered. Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler missed a couple months in 2018-19 after his multiple facial fractures included his upper jaw, cheek and orbital bone.
In both Brodin and Brouwer’s cases, special helmet protection was added to their helmets upon their return. That’s not confirmed for Marino, but likely in his immediate future too. It wasn’t said if Brodin or Brouwer required surgery, so if not perhaps that is a reason their absences were relatively short, while Quincey and Fower required longer while getting surgery.
Still, Marino has been one of the Penguins’ top defenders this year and now it appears they will have to endure an injury to him too, at least for the time being. It will be just one more in a long list of adversities that the injury bug has thrown their way in 2019-20.