The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/03/14 at 10:54 AM ET
Updated 4x at 4:13 PM: Yesterday night, Red Wings prospect and Grand Rapids Griffins forward Mitchell Callhan lost ten teeth (on top of his two front teeth), needed 9 stitches and surgery to repair a broken jaw after taking a Ryan Sproul slap shot to his face, but his incredibly bloody and gruesome "selfie" (it's everywhere, it's graphic and I would rather not post it, but you have been warned if you wish to click here--it's "nightmare fuel" and then some) went "viral"...
And now Callahan has something of a challenge on his hands. He's become an online sensation, but now the scrappy and surprisingly talented forward has to prove that his career will amount to more than a moment of online infamy.
Callahan's coach wasn't happy with his player's indiscretion, as the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner noted...
Coach Jeff Blashill said he heard about Callahan's in-game tweet and was not pleased.
Asked if he approved of it, Blashill said, "No."
"Shame on me for not having a more direct statement on that," Blashill said, "but I just think we have to be real careful what we put out on social media."
And the Free Press's Helene St. James is reporting that Callahan will need more oral surgery to stabilize his injuries, which may very well mean that his season is over:
Detroit Red Wings prospect Mitch Callahan is scheduled surgery today to fix a bloody mess.
Callahan gained Internet fame overnight Wednesday when he tweeted a photo of himself simply captioned, "ouch."
The picture revealed a mouth missing numerous teeth and a split upper lip. Callahan was hurt when he took a puck to the face courtesy of a power play slap shot by Grand Rapids teammate Ryan Sproul.
Callahan, a sixth-round pick from 2009, skated off on his own. Repairs on his mouth are scheduled for today.
Callahan had a very good season with Grand Rapids--he's 3rd in team scoring with 26 goals, 18 assists and 44 points in 70 games, only 4 goals behind the team-leading Teemu Pulkkinen--but he's no longer waiver-exempt next year (just like Landon Ferraro), and this is going to be the first of what I'm sure are more than a few oral surgeries to repair his jaw and replace those teeth.
For Callahan's roommate, the injury stung--because Ryan Sproul suffered a broken jaw while playing with the Soo Greyhounds...
And Callahan's mom and dad, who witnessed their son make his NHL debut last week against Columbus, had to witness the situation happen on Twitter, so I'm sure that they've had a rough time.
This is the "selfie" I'm willing to post:
I can't deny that I feel very personally protective of Callahan--I was one of the first people to interview him at his first Wings summer camp, and I've had a fantastic relationship with him in terms of my personal interactions with him, so part of me feels just awful that he may need his jaw wired shut, and that he's going to probably require up to half a dozen massive and invasive oral surgeries to repair ALL of his front teeth...
But part of me's upset at his indiscretion, and if he wasn't already probably concussed to some extent, I'd bop him on the head.
I hope he heals quickly, as someone who had major throat surgery, I know the urgency of oral pain, so I desperately hope that he's going to get the right medications to ensure that he forgets the next 48 to 72 hours, and I hope that "Sproully" takes care of his buddy as soft food and orally-taken liquid medications (liquid Vicodin is a vicious, nasty drug) become the norm for Callahan over the next 4 to 8 weeks. After that, it's up to Callahan to out-perform a now-infamous Tweet.
Update: St. James has more about Callahan:
Seeing the bloody mess that was Mitch Callahan, Luke Glendening made a quick phone call to check on his friend.
He didn't get much out of him.
"I could barely understand him," Glendening said Thursday.
For good reason: Callahan, a Detroit Red Wings prospect, suffered a broken jaw and lost 10 teeth after being hit in the face by a puck Wednesday night. Wings general manager Ken Holland said Callahan is having surgery today.
Glendening, a former Griffins player now with the Wings, also spoke to Sproul. "He feels terrible," Glendening said. "He didn't want to talk about it. He feels bad. I guess Cally got cross-checked and he was falling as Sproul shot it, but he still feels terrible."
Update #2: From Fox 17's Dan Harland:
Update #3: Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji spoke with Luke Glendening regarding Callahan:
Wings center Luke Glendening, who lived with Callahan, Sproul and Riley Sheahan in Grand Rapids, was concerned when he heard about the incident.
"I called him last night, just to see what happened, to make sure he was doing OK," Glendening said. "He was on the phone, a little hard to understand, but that's understandable with what happened."
Unlike many people who saw the photo, Glendening was actually relieved to see Callahan.
"If I would have heard what happened and didn't see his picture I probably would have been a little more nervous," Glendening said. "I guess to see the picture gave me a bit of relief to know that he was OK."
Glendening thought it was amusing that Callahan put the picture out on social media.
"Guys have done that with cuts and injuries before," Glendening said. "I thought it was pretty funny."
Update #4: Via RedWingsFeed, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner clarified the social media situation:
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill on Thursday backed off postgame comments that were critical of Mitch Callahan posting an in-game selfie that showed his gnarly puck-damaged mouth to Twitter.
“I shouldn’t have let that be the focus,” Blashill said. “It should have been on the sacrifice that Mitch Callahan makes for this hockey team, and what he’s done for us all season. The fact that one of our guys was hurting bad, that’s what the focus should have been.”
Blashill, who initially said he did not approve of the social media posting, said he sent Callahan a note saying as much. As for the in-game tweet, Blashill said, “How we handle social media is an on-going thing, and a continuing learning process for both the Red Wings and within our team.”
Beyond the photo and the injury, the Griffins will have to figure a way to replace Callahan beginning with home games Friday and Saturday against Hamilton. He is third on the team with 44 points and second in goals with 26. He plays on the power play and penalty kill.
“He’s been one of our best players all season long,” Blashill said. “With all that he plays, obviously it’s a significant loss. But what we’ve seen all year, when we lose guys, we have other guys step up and expect nothing different here.”
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